Obamacare 101: Colleges cut faculty hours
The health care overhaul is prompting some schools to reduce adjunct professors' work time to avoid paying for health insurance.
Obamacare's impact is expanding to the ivory tower, with some adjunct faculty members finding they're caught up in the turmoil surrounding the national health care insurance overhaul.
More colleges are limiting the hours their adjunct faculty members can work, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Why? The colleges want to avoid having to pay for health insurance coverage for the adjunct professors, given that the Affordable Care Act requires large employers to cover staffers working more than 30 hours a week.
But as the Chronicle points out, adjunct faculty members are rarely paid by the hour. Instead, the norm is to pay them by the course, which makes it complicated to estimate how many hours each professor or lecturer requires to prepare and manage a class.
Adding to the pressure is the growing reliance on adjuncts to carry teaching loads at colleges and universities. A study published earlier this year by Inside Higher Ed found that 65% of colleges and universities rely significantly on non-tenure-track faculty members such as adjuncts.
These instructors are increasingly taking the place of tenured faculty members because they're cheaper. On average, their jobs pay $2,987 for a three-credit course, according to a January survey from the Chronicle of Higher Education. Meanwhile, the average annual pay for a tenured professor (associate level) is $88,306, according to the American Association of University Professors.
The Community College of Allegheny County, Pa., estimated that providing health insurance to its 400 part-time employees would add at least $6 million in costs. The institution has responded by cutting the workload limit for adjuncts to 10 credits per semester, down from 12.
Expanding coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which goes into effect next year, is "simply unaffordable," college administrator David Hoovler told the Chronicle.
Colleges are just the latest sector to anticipate the effects of Obamacare. Regal Entertainment (RGC) came under fire from some customers over its decision to cut hours for thousands of nonsalaried employees to avoid providing health insurance, while Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) is pushing the government to narrow its definition of a full-time worker.
With adjuncts pressured to work less than 30 hours, some feel they have to lie to keep their jobs.
"Because of the grading load, I've been put in a position twice this semester where I've just had to lie about the number of hours I actually worked. I don't want to have to make a choice between having a job or not," Allison G. Armentrout, an adjunct instructor at Ohio's Stark State College, told the publication.
She said some adjunct faculty worry they won't get contract renewals if they go over the college's 30-hour limit.
"There's potential for a lot of issues there," she said. "There will be a lot more professors working at McDonald's."
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
The unintended consequences of Obamacare continues to lead to fewer and fewer jobs. Or is this his "Jobs" program that he's been pushing? Or maybe it's part of the "economic revovery" he says we're in. Bottom line - none seem to be working....
Maybe lefties should boycott their local establishments of higher learning as was suggested in the same instance of Regal Cinemas for daring to state that Obamacare WILL RESULT in people either losing their jobs or having their hours scaled back.
Now get out there and protest your local university\college for being rightwing stooges.
it can't sell. another pig in the poke here folks. we have another solyndra, A123, fisker debacle here. they can put lipstick on it but it won't market. if it won't market, nobody buys it.
We don't have a right or a left problem, or a democrat republican problem, we have an american problem. Until we can all come together as one and take control of our own country, the weasels in office will always win. Most of you who do the name calling seem to fail to understand this and I am referring to both sides. Yes we need healthcare reform, yes you need to break some eggs to make an omelet, but let's get it together please. The 1% have the money but the 99% have the power and right now the 99% suck at being american. Do not vote republican or democrat in the next elections, let's try something new here shall we?
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