Professors and Their Mediocre Salary

Caption: Professors argue about low salary.

Caption: Professors argue about low salary.

Stone Sinnett, Writer

Would you like to know why college professors make such little earnings for all of their years of studying for a specific field? Well, it’s actually not that difficult to understand. Most professors obtain their salary from the students paying tuition. With the high cost of college, one would assume that a professor would make a lot of money.  Unfortunately, according to, about 10-15% of tuition goes towards “undisclosed other expenses,” which might not seem like a lot, but at Colgate University that would accumulate to $25 million.


What it takes to become a college professor is not effortless for the average individual. The highest cost is time; four years of undergraduate, one year for master’s, and 3-7 years for a doctorate depending upon the field of study. Most individuals who attend college seeking an undergraduate degree earn an above average salary. Someone would think that because professors go to school for 45% -67% longer, conduct research, and are demanded long working hours, their salary would be higher. When portions of tuition money enter the mysterious to “undisclosed reasons” category, it raises some eyebrows, and because of that, professors should receive a higher salary.  


Unfortunately, this is not the case. The average salary for a college professor is $70,000 a year, which, to some, might be a luxury; for a professor this is surely not the case. With a total debt of $150,000 and an income of half, it could take a lifetime to payoff a loan. This means they cannot have days to rest or much vacation time. Does this mean that it is a bad idea to become a professor? Who truly knows?


Ralph DeRose, a senior at Oakdale High School, dreams to obtain his PhD in economics after he graduates college. DeRose stated: “Yes, I do believe that college professors should make a better living than what they have now. My tuition to pay for my class should go to the professor, not  “undisclosed reasons as you said, speaking in broad terms.” DeRose would then go on to speak about the certain fields of study at a specific college, and if the majority of students major in business, then business professors deserve to make the most amount of money.


Mr. David Lillard, a biology teacher at Oakdale High School, who also happens to teach dual enrollment for Frederick Community College, stated that college professors should make more money, but it is unreasonable: “I would love to make a better living, but unfortunately to increase my salary, the school would have to decrease the amount of scholarships and financial aid they can hand out. Obviously I wouldn’t want to take away a student’s education just so that I could make a few extra dollars.” Mr. Lillard also stated that the money going towards the coaches’ salaries will never change. The current process may not change for a long time.


Understanding that a higher salary for professors would mean a larger loan that students will take out of the bank, but athletic coaches should earn what the team makes. A student’s payment for his or her class should not go towards the head coach’s revenue. A professor does deserve a higher standard of living, but sadly that is an unlikely probability..