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Federal Aid Should Require Administrative Cuts

The CARES COVID-19 relief package provided – among many other things -funding for both community colleges and community college students. Congress is still considering a second relief program that may include even more aid for community colleges. Lawmakers should tie additional federal aid for higher education to administrative cuts.

Labor comprises most of a community college’s expenses. But the federal government should not waste one dollar of COVID-19 relief on supporting administrative structures laden with unnecessary or title-inflated positions. The Department of Education should actively penalize institutions with grossly exaggerated administrations.

First, WCC has nine Vice Presidents, and is currently on the hunt for the 10th such position. Comparing WCC’s administration to those of other Michigan community colleges is revealing. Directors at other community colleges fill many positions classified at the VP level at WCC.

Second, the potential loss of state funds and tuition revenues prompted the College to cut programs and employees. If the Administration had to cut programs, then the Board should demand Administrative cuts. too. The WCC Administration cannot poormouth while simultaneously building a terra cotta army of executives. WCC must reduce the number of Vice Presidents to single digits, and preferably to a number that requires only one hand to count.

And – if the federal government should not support an enormous administration, the local taxpayers shouldn’t have to either. Given that even the largest community colleges in the United States do not carry 10 Vice Presidents on the payroll, it should not be hard to right-size WCC’s executive retinue. The Board of Trustees must step in and demand administrative cuts that return the executive org chart to a size that is sustainable in the long-term. The taxpayers and the students deserve nothing less.

Photo Credit: Aaron Shumaker, via Flickr