Ph.D.s On Food Stamps

Ph.D.s On Food Stamps May 16, 2012

Getting a Ph.D. is a nice feather in one’s cap, but that’s about it these days. An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the number of people with PhDs who are struggling to get by. In fact, many are on food stamps.

One of the reasons is that more and more schools are hiring adjuncts, the slave labor of academia:

Some adjuncts make less money than custodians and campus support staff who may not have college degrees. An adjunct’s salary can range from $600 to $10,000 per course, according to the Adjunct Project, a crowdsourced database about adjuncts’ salaries and working conditions. The national average earnings of adjunct instructors are just under $2,500 per course, according to the American Association of University Professors.

The article goes on to note that the amount that adjuncts get paid is academia’s “dirty little secret.” We adjuncts — yes, I’m one — work with short-term contracts (or no contract), receive no health care or benefits, do not get to participate in the governance of the school, and can be fired or not renewed without notice.

I hustle adjunct jobs wherever I can. Three places that used me in 2011-2012 aren’t having me back in 2012-2013. I think I’ve got one new gig lined up for next year, and I applied for but didn’t get another one.

I’m not asking for pity, and I’m not on food stamps. But this is a reality in today’s world, and it’s an ugly one.

Wanna see how much an adjunct makes at your school? Click here.

Do you think that pay is fair, or unfair?

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