Almanac of Higher Education 2013

Data and Analysis

The State of Academe

The Chronicle takes the measure of higher education in the 2013-14 Almanac, our annual compendium of data on colleges. This year’s Almanac features many new tables and charts along with familiar ones. Choose a section below to start browsing.

 

Almanac 2012-Section-Salaries

The Profession

Almanac 2012-Section-International

International

Almanac of Higher Education 2013

Data and Analysis

The State of Academe

The Chronicle takes the measure of higher education in the 2013-14 Almanac, our annual compendium of data on colleges. This year’s Almanac features many new tables and charts along with familiar ones. Choose a section below to start browsing.

Almanac 2012-Section-Salaries

The Profession

Almanac 2012-Section-International

International

Stuck in the middle- The earning power of professors

Stuck in the Middle

Associate professors see their earning power drop compared with their colleagues above and below

6030-Faculty Pay Fisher

Kristen Schmid for The Chronicle

Lynn Fisher became an associate professor of anthropology at the U. of Illinois at Springfield in 2006, a promotion that brought a $2,500 salary increase. Her salary has crept up only incrementally in recent years.

Associate professors, in theory, should be hitting a stride in their academic careers. In the middle ranks of faculty, they have typically earned tenure and started to take on broader responsibilities in their departments, juggling more service and governance roles with their teaching and research.

But the earning power of these professors is diminishing compared with their peers in ranks above and below them.

While pay for associate professors has grown by 5.6 percent since 2000, after adjusting for inflation, salaries for assistant professors have increased by 9 percent, according to a Chronicle analysis of data provided by the American Association of University Professors. The gap is widening even more between associate professors and full professors, whose pay has increased by 11.7 percent.

The professors’ association is releasing its annual survey of faculty salaries this week. The average salary for full-time faculty members, the association found, rose 2.2 percent in 2013-14 from the year before. For the first time in five years, the increase in salaries outpaced inflation.

However, the association cautions that the recession’s effect on faculty salaries isn’t over yet. Professors who work at the same institutions as the year before saw an average pay raise of 3.4 percent, which is still below pre-recessionary levels.

The report, titled “Losing Focus,” also points out lingering inequities: Pay at private colleges, it says, continues to be higher than at public institutions. And the report questions institutions’ focus on their core academic mission, given their decisions to grow administrative ranks and increase spending on athletics.

Faculty Pay

Despite that kind of environment, in which little money is typically available or set aside for increasing faculty pay, salaries for assistant professors are rising at a faster rate than those of associate professors—mainly because institutions put together competitive pay packages every year to lure new junior faculty members to campus. That leaves associate professors, and even some full professors, to commiserate about salary compression as the gap narrows between their pay and that of their newly hired colleagues.

The average salary for an assistant professor across all types of institutions is $69,848 in 2013-14, compared with $81,980 for an associate professor, according to AAUP data—a gap of about $12,000.

“I see this all the time as I try to hire people on the open market,” says Antony H. Harrison, a professor of English and head of the department at North Carolina State University. “Beginning assistant professors can certainly make more than established associate professors in my department.

“It’s a huge problem,” he continues. “For us, there just aren’t that many tools in the tool box that you can work with to make a difference.”

Meanwhile, the gap between the average salaries of associate professors and full professors is just over $37,000. Salaries for full professors generally rise at a faster rate than those of other ranks, in part because raises and merit pay are typically awarded as a percentage of their already larger base salary. Over time the pay gap between them and their colleagues in other ranks will continue to grow when measured in absolute dollars.

Deans and other administrators face a number of constraints as they make hard choices about how to allocate limited funds for salaries. They have to manage faculty morale as tight budgets limit the possibility of raises, and they must weigh how to recruit new faculty and find money to retain professors who are offered bigger paychecks elsewhere.

“The only way to get a significant raise is to move somewhere else.”

“The only way to get a significant raise is to move somewhere else,” says Lynn E. Fisher, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “And of course that’s a loss of experience and training to the university.”

Ms. Fisher is one associate professor whose salary has crept up only incrementally in recent years. She was promoted to her current rank at the start of the 2006-7 academic year. At the time, the move increased her base salary by $2,500. Since then pay raises for the university’s faculty have been sporadic; they were nonexistent in the years following the recession.

Last year, however, employees across the board in the University of Illinois system received merit raises that averaged 2.75 percent.

For associate professors like Ms. Fisher, the next substantive bump in salary would most likely come with a promotion to full professor. At Springfield, advancement to that rank means a $5,000 boost in pay. To apply for the promotion, associate professors must be at that rank for at least seven years and “be able to document a clear record of excellence in teaching, research, and service,” among other things, according to university guidelines.

The path to full professor, and the subsequent financial payoff, is often fraught with barriers, particularly for women and minority faculty members. Research shows that both groups are often disproportionally saddled with service activities, such as mentoring undergraduates and sitting on departmental and universitywide committees, and family responsibilities that make it tough for them to take on the kind of work that counts toward promotion.

“In many departments and institutions, the culture and support for professors to come up to full is just not there,” says Kiernan Mathews, director of the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education at Harvard University, which studies the attitudes faculty members have about their jobs. “What we’ve learned is that the experience of the newly tenured associate professors is a heavier course load and more service work, perhaps even serving as department chair. They’re asked to do all these other additional things without any support to continue their research productivity.”

How much earning power associate professors have varies by the type of institution at which they are employed. According to the AAUP data, they fare the worst compared with their peers at master’s institutions, where their pay, after adjusting for inflation, fell by 0.3 percent since 2000-1. Associate professors fared the best at doctoral institutions, where their pay rose 7.1 percent when adjusted for inflation.

The severity of gaps also varies by campus. At Springfield, where Ms. Fisher works, the average associate professor’s pay fell 11 percent between 2000-1 and 2013-14, when adjusted for inflation, In comparison, full professors saw a 21-percent jump in pay. The average pay for associate professors at the University of Chicago rose from $107,500 in 2000 to $118,900 in 2013-14—an increase of 11 percent. But full professors’ average pay rose by 25 percent during that time, from $168,800 to $210,700. At Vanderbilt University, the average pay for associate professors went up 19 percent to $107,500, but average pay for full professors outpaced that with a 25-percent jump.

Associate professors’ salaries may be slow-growing partly because of the kinds of faculty members who tend to be part of that rank. Some, for example, never seek promotion. Such longtime associates may have been planning to retire before the recession hit, Mr. Mathews says. However, it’s possible that they’ve now put off those plans and are locked into incremental raises, if any.

Nadine Bean, who has been an associate professor of social work at West Chester University of Pennsylvania for nine years, has decided not to apply for a promotion. That means she is also passing up the pay bump that comes with a move to full professor. She says she has come to realize that meeting the requirements for promotion would be a stretch for her.

“I’m supposed to do 50 percent teaching, 35 percent research, and 15 percent service, and my research and service is reversed,” says Ms. Bean, who worked as a social worker for 25 years before starting a career in academe. “I’m just very active in my profession and in direct service, actively engaging students in the work that I do. To apply for full, I would have to dramatically change my priorities, and I’m just not willing to do that.”

Ms. Bean’s decision means she’ll forego a 10- to 12-percent jump in pay at an institution where the average pay for professors at her rank is $85,500. Those who have remained at their ranks have been receiving raises of 1 to 2 percent in recent years as stipulated by the faculty’s union contract.

At some institutions, associate professors and others don’t have to rely solely on raises or promotions to earn extra money. At Central Michigan University, for example, professors of all ranks can earn more pay for teaching courses online or during the summer (although the money wouldn’t be added to their base salary), says Joshua Smith, an associate professor of philosophy and religion and president of the university’s faculty union.

A promotion to associate professor at Central Michigan comes with a base salary increase of $6,250, according to Mr. Smith, and a promotion to full professor comes with an increase of $7,250. Full professors, however, also have a built-in opportunity to increase their earning power at a greater rate than professors of other ranks. Every four years they can earn the same pay raise they did when they were promoted to full professor if they meet the same criteria.

“There’s a strong motivation to get promoted and stay active,” Mr. Smith says.

That same kind of incentive exists at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where AAUP data show that, when adjusted for inflation, average pay for associate professors has risen just 1 percent since 2000-1. Yet the average pay for full professors at the institution grew only 5 percent, from $138,300 to $145,200.

Within the University of California system, professors of any rank have a process they can invoke if they believe they are underpaid and want a review of their record and achievements.

“People who are doing good work have a path to move forward and advance throughout their entire career,” says David Marshall, dean of the division of humanities and fine arts at Santa Barbara.

Faculty at all ranks are also promoted in “steps,” which means that it’s possible to get a raise every few years within the same rank before moving on to the next one. A faculty member who has exceeded expectations for a particular step could skip it and move on to the next, Mr. Marshall says.

The pay hierarchy can also be changed, sometimes significantly, when the university counters an offer for a job a faculty member receives elsewhere or when the university makes an aggressive play to land a hotly sought-after assistant professor.

“Sometimes you can find assistant and associate professors with higher salaries than full professors,” says Mr. Marshall. “We’re aware of the pressure of market forces when you’re dealing with recruitment and retention. All universities are dealing with this.

“Still, we do try to keep a sense of the whole picture,” he says, “and balance that with what’s happening with individuals.”

Jonah Newman contributed to this article.

Where to go….Stuck in the middle-Educators

Stuck in the Middle

Associate professors see their earning power drop compared with their colleagues above and below

6030-Faculty Pay Fisher

Kristen Schmid for The Chronicle

Lynn Fisher became an associate professor of anthropology at the U. of Illinois at Springfield in 2006, a promotion that brought a $2,500 salary increase. Her salary has crept up only incrementally in recent years.

Associate professors, in theory, should be hitting a stride in their academic careers. In the middle ranks of faculty, they have typically earned tenure and started to take on broader responsibilities in their departments, juggling more service and governance roles with their teaching and research.

But the earning power of these professors is diminishing compared with their peers in ranks above and below them.

While pay for associate professors has grown by 5.6 percent since 2000, after adjusting for inflation, salaries for assistant professors have increased by 9 percent, according to a Chronicle analysis of data provided by the American Association of University Professors. The gap is widening even more between associate professors and full professors, whose pay has increased by 11.7 percent.

The professors’ association is releasing its annual survey of faculty salaries this week. The average salary for full-time faculty members, the association found, rose 2.2 percent in 2013-14 from the year before. For the first time in five years, the increase in salaries outpaced inflation.

However, the association cautions that the recession’s effect on faculty salaries isn’t over yet. Professors who work at the same institutions as the year before saw an average pay raise of 3.4 percent, which is still below pre-recessionary levels.

The report, titled “Losing Focus,” also points out lingering inequities: Pay at private colleges, it says, continues to be higher than at public institutions. And the report questions institutions’ focus on their core academic mission, given their decisions to grow administrative ranks and increase spending on athletics.

Faculty Pay

Despite that kind of environment, in which little money is typically available or set aside for increasing faculty pay, salaries for assistant professors are rising at a faster rate than those of associate professors—mainly because institutions put together competitive pay packages every year to lure new junior faculty members to campus. That leaves associate professors, and even some full professors, to commiserate about salary compression as the gap narrows between their pay and that of their newly hired colleagues.

The average salary for an assistant professor across all types of institutions is $69,848 in 2013-14, compared with $81,980 for an associate professor, according to AAUP data—a gap of about $12,000.

“I see this all the time as I try to hire people on the open market,” says Antony H. Harrison, a professor of English and head of the department at North Carolina State University. “Beginning assistant professors can certainly make more than established associate professors in my department.

“It’s a huge problem,” he continues. “For us, there just aren’t that many tools in the tool box that you can work with to make a difference.”

Meanwhile, the gap between the average salaries of associate professors and full professors is just over $37,000. Salaries for full professors generally rise at a faster rate than those of other ranks, in part because raises and merit pay are typically awarded as a percentage of their already larger base salary. Over time the pay gap between them and their colleagues in other ranks will continue to grow when measured in absolute dollars.

Deans and other administrators face a number of constraints as they make hard choices about how to allocate limited funds for salaries. They have to manage faculty morale as tight budgets limit the possibility of raises, and they must weigh how to recruit new faculty and find money to retain professors who are offered bigger paychecks elsewhere.

“The only way to get a significant raise is to move somewhere else.”

“The only way to get a significant raise is to move somewhere else,” says Lynn E. Fisher, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “And of course that’s a loss of experience and training to the university.”

Ms. Fisher is one associate professor whose salary has crept up only incrementally in recent years. She was promoted to her current rank at the start of the 2006-7 academic year. At the time, the move increased her base salary by $2,500. Since then pay raises for the university’s faculty have been sporadic; they were nonexistent in the years following the recession.

Last year, however, employees across the board in the University of Illinois system received merit raises that averaged 2.75 percent.

For associate professors like Ms. Fisher, the next substantive bump in salary would most likely come with a promotion to full professor. At Springfield, advancement to that rank means a $5,000 boost in pay. To apply for the promotion, associate professors must be at that rank for at least seven years and “be able to document a clear record of excellence in teaching, research, and service,” among other things, according to university guidelines.

The path to full professor, and the subsequent financial payoff, is often fraught with barriers, particularly for women and minority faculty members. Research shows that both groups are often disproportionally saddled with service activities, such as mentoring undergraduates and sitting on departmental and universitywide committees, and family responsibilities that make it tough for them to take on the kind of work that counts toward promotion.

“In many departments and institutions, the culture and support for professors to come up to full is just not there,” says Kiernan Mathews, director of the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education at Harvard University, which studies the attitudes faculty members have about their jobs. “What we’ve learned is that the experience of the newly tenured associate professors is a heavier course load and more service work, perhaps even serving as department chair. They’re asked to do all these other additional things without any support to continue their research productivity.”

How much earning power associate professors have varies by the type of institution at which they are employed. According to the AAUP data, they fare the worst compared with their peers at master’s institutions, where their pay, after adjusting for inflation, fell by 0.3 percent since 2000-1. Associate professors fared the best at doctoral institutions, where their pay rose 7.1 percent when adjusted for inflation.

The severity of gaps also varies by campus. At Springfield, where Ms. Fisher works, the average associate professor’s pay fell 11 percent between 2000-1 and 2013-14, when adjusted for inflation, In comparison, full professors saw a 21-percent jump in pay. The average pay for associate professors at the University of Chicago rose from $107,500 in 2000 to $118,900 in 2013-14—an increase of 11 percent. But full professors’ average pay rose by 25 percent during that time, from $168,800 to $210,700. At Vanderbilt University, the average pay for associate professors went up 19 percent to $107,500, but average pay for full professors outpaced that with a 25-percent jump.

Associate professors’ salaries may be slow-growing partly because of the kinds of faculty members who tend to be part of that rank. Some, for example, never seek promotion. Such longtime associates may have been planning to retire before the recession hit, Mr. Mathews says. However, it’s possible that they’ve now put off those plans and are locked into incremental raises, if any.

Nadine Bean, who has been an associate professor of social work at West Chester University of Pennsylvania for nine years, has decided not to apply for a promotion. That means she is also passing up the pay bump that comes with a move to full professor. She says she has come to realize that meeting the requirements for promotion would be a stretch for her.

“I’m supposed to do 50 percent teaching, 35 percent research, and 15 percent service, and my research and service is reversed,” says Ms. Bean, who worked as a social worker for 25 years before starting a career in academe. “I’m just very active in my profession and in direct service, actively engaging students in the work that I do. To apply for full, I would have to dramatically change my priorities, and I’m just not willing to do that.”

Ms. Bean’s decision means she’ll forego a 10- to 12-percent jump in pay at an institution where the average pay for professors at her rank is $85,500. Those who have remained at their ranks have been receiving raises of 1 to 2 percent in recent years as stipulated by the faculty’s union contract.

At some institutions, associate professors and others don’t have to rely solely on raises or promotions to earn extra money. At Central Michigan University, for example, professors of all ranks can earn more pay for teaching courses online or during the summer (although the money wouldn’t be added to their base salary), says Joshua Smith, an associate professor of philosophy and religion and president of the university’s faculty union.

A promotion to associate professor at Central Michigan comes with a base salary increase of $6,250, according to Mr. Smith, and a promotion to full professor comes with an increase of $7,250. Full professors, however, also have a built-in opportunity to increase their earning power at a greater rate than professors of other ranks. Every four years they can earn the same pay raise they did when they were promoted to full professor if they meet the same criteria.

“There’s a strong motivation to get promoted and stay active,” Mr. Smith says.

That same kind of incentive exists at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where AAUP data show that, when adjusted for inflation, average pay for associate professors has risen just 1 percent since 2000-1. Yet the average pay for full professors at the institution grew only 5 percent, from $138,300 to $145,200.

Within the University of California system, professors of any rank have a process they can invoke if they believe they are underpaid and want a review of their record and achievements.

“People who are doing good work have a path to move forward and advance throughout their entire career,” says David Marshall, dean of the division of humanities and fine arts at Santa Barbara.

Faculty at all ranks are also promoted in “steps,” which means that it’s possible to get a raise every few years within the same rank before moving on to the next one. A faculty member who has exceeded expectations for a particular step could skip it and move on to the next, Mr. Marshall says.

The pay hierarchy can also be changed, sometimes significantly, when the university counters an offer for a job a faculty member receives elsewhere or when the university makes an aggressive play to land a hotly sought-after assistant professor.

“Sometimes you can find assistant and associate professors with higher salaries than full professors,” says Mr. Marshall. “We’re aware of the pressure of market forces when you’re dealing with recruitment and retention. All universities are dealing with this.

“Still, we do try to keep a sense of the whole picture,” he says, “and balance that with what’s happening with individuals.”

Jonah Newman contributed to this article.

Higher Ed Educators Stuck in the middle??

Stuck in the Middle

Associate professors see their earning power drop compared with their colleagues above and below

6030-Faculty Pay Fisher

Kristen Schmid for The Chronicle

Lynn Fisher became an associate professor of anthropology at the U. of Illinois at Springfield in 2006, a promotion that brought a $2,500 salary increase. Her salary has crept up only incrementally in recent years.

Associate professors, in theory, should be hitting a stride in their academic careers. In the middle ranks of faculty, they have typically earned tenure and started to take on broader responsibilities in their departments, juggling more service and governance roles with their teaching and research.

But the earning power of these professors is diminishing compared with their peers in ranks above and below them.

While pay for associate professors has grown by 5.6 percent since 2000, after adjusting for inflation, salaries for assistant professors have increased by 9 percent, according to a Chronicle analysis of data provided by the American Association of University Professors. The gap is widening even more between associate professors and full professors, whose pay has increased by 11.7 percent.

The professors’ association is releasing its annual survey of faculty salaries this week. The average salary for full-time faculty members, the association found, rose 2.2 percent in 2013-14 from the year before. For the first time in five years, the increase in salaries outpaced inflation.

However, the association cautions that the recession’s effect on faculty salaries isn’t over yet. Professors who work at the same institutions as the year before saw an average pay raise of 3.4 percent, which is still below pre-recessionary levels.

The report, titled “Losing Focus,” also points out lingering inequities: Pay at private colleges, it says, continues to be higher than at public institutions. And the report questions institutions’ focus on their core academic mission, given their decisions to grow administrative ranks and increase spending on athletics.

Faculty Pay

Despite that kind of environment, in which little money is typically available or set aside for increasing faculty pay, salaries for assistant professors are rising at a faster rate than those of associate professors—mainly because institutions put together competitive pay packages every year to lure new junior faculty members to campus. That leaves associate professors, and even some full professors, to commiserate about salary compression as the gap narrows between their pay and that of their newly hired colleagues.

The average salary for an assistant professor across all types of institutions is $69,848 in 2013-14, compared with $81,980 for an associate professor, according to AAUP data—a gap of about $12,000.

“I see this all the time as I try to hire people on the open market,” says Antony H. Harrison, a professor of English and head of the department at North Carolina State University. “Beginning assistant professors can certainly make more than established associate professors in my department.

“It’s a huge problem,” he continues. “For us, there just aren’t that many tools in the tool box that you can work with to make a difference.”

Meanwhile, the gap between the average salaries of associate professors and full professors is just over $37,000. Salaries for full professors generally rise at a faster rate than those of other ranks, in part because raises and merit pay are typically awarded as a percentage of their already larger base salary. Over time the pay gap between them and their colleagues in other ranks will continue to grow when measured in absolute dollars.

Deans and other administrators face a number of constraints as they make hard choices about how to allocate limited funds for salaries. They have to manage faculty morale as tight budgets limit the possibility of raises, and they must weigh how to recruit new faculty and find money to retain professors who are offered bigger paychecks elsewhere.

“The only way to get a significant raise is to move somewhere else.”

“The only way to get a significant raise is to move somewhere else,” says Lynn E. Fisher, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “And of course that’s a loss of experience and training to the university.”

Ms. Fisher is one associate professor whose salary has crept up only incrementally in recent years. She was promoted to her current rank at the start of the 2006-7 academic year. At the time, the move increased her base salary by $2,500. Since then pay raises for the university’s faculty have been sporadic; they were nonexistent in the years following the recession.

Last year, however, employees across the board in the University of Illinois system received merit raises that averaged 2.75 percent.

For associate professors like Ms. Fisher, the next substantive bump in salary would most likely come with a promotion to full professor. At Springfield, advancement to that rank means a $5,000 boost in pay. To apply for the promotion, associate professors must be at that rank for at least seven years and “be able to document a clear record of excellence in teaching, research, and service,” among other things, according to university guidelines.

The path to full professor, and the subsequent financial payoff, is often fraught with barriers, particularly for women and minority faculty members. Research shows that both groups are often disproportionally saddled with service activities, such as mentoring undergraduates and sitting on departmental and universitywide committees, and family responsibilities that make it tough for them to take on the kind of work that counts toward promotion.

“In many departments and institutions, the culture and support for professors to come up to full is just not there,” says Kiernan Mathews, director of the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education at Harvard University, which studies the attitudes faculty members have about their jobs. “What we’ve learned is that the experience of the newly tenured associate professors is a heavier course load and more service work, perhaps even serving as department chair. They’re asked to do all these other additional things without any support to continue their research productivity.”

How much earning power associate professors have varies by the type of institution at which they are employed. According to the AAUP data, they fare the worst compared with their peers at master’s institutions, where their pay, after adjusting for inflation, fell by 0.3 percent since 2000-1. Associate professors fared the best at doctoral institutions, where their pay rose 7.1 percent when adjusted for inflation.

The severity of gaps also varies by campus. At Springfield, where Ms. Fisher works, the average associate professor’s pay fell 11 percent between 2000-1 and 2013-14, when adjusted for inflation, In comparison, full professors saw a 21-percent jump in pay. The average pay for associate professors at the University of Chicago rose from $107,500 in 2000 to $118,900 in 2013-14—an increase of 11 percent. But full professors’ average pay rose by 25 percent during that time, from $168,800 to $210,700. At Vanderbilt University, the average pay for associate professors went up 19 percent to $107,500, but average pay for full professors outpaced that with a 25-percent jump.

Associate professors’ salaries may be slow-growing partly because of the kinds of faculty members who tend to be part of that rank. Some, for example, never seek promotion. Such longtime associates may have been planning to retire before the recession hit, Mr. Mathews says. However, it’s possible that they’ve now put off those plans and are locked into incremental raises, if any.

Nadine Bean, who has been an associate professor of social work at West Chester University of Pennsylvania for nine years, has decided not to apply for a promotion. That means she is also passing up the pay bump that comes with a move to full professor. She says she has come to realize that meeting the requirements for promotion would be a stretch for her.

“I’m supposed to do 50 percent teaching, 35 percent research, and 15 percent service, and my research and service is reversed,” says Ms. Bean, who worked as a social worker for 25 years before starting a career in academe. “I’m just very active in my profession and in direct service, actively engaging students in the work that I do. To apply for full, I would have to dramatically change my priorities, and I’m just not willing to do that.”

Ms. Bean’s decision means she’ll forego a 10- to 12-percent jump in pay at an institution where the average pay for professors at her rank is $85,500. Those who have remained at their ranks have been receiving raises of 1 to 2 percent in recent years as stipulated by the faculty’s union contract.

At some institutions, associate professors and others don’t have to rely solely on raises or promotions to earn extra money. At Central Michigan University, for example, professors of all ranks can earn more pay for teaching courses online or during the summer (although the money wouldn’t be added to their base salary), says Joshua Smith, an associate professor of philosophy and religion and president of the university’s faculty union.

A promotion to associate professor at Central Michigan comes with a base salary increase of $6,250, according to Mr. Smith, and a promotion to full professor comes with an increase of $7,250. Full professors, however, also have a built-in opportunity to increase their earning power at a greater rate than professors of other ranks. Every four years they can earn the same pay raise they did when they were promoted to full professor if they meet the same criteria.

“There’s a strong motivation to get promoted and stay active,” Mr. Smith says.

That same kind of incentive exists at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where AAUP data show that, when adjusted for inflation, average pay for associate professors has risen just 1 percent since 2000-1. Yet the average pay for full professors at the institution grew only 5 percent, from $138,300 to $145,200.

Within the University of California system, professors of any rank have a process they can invoke if they believe they are underpaid and want a review of their record and achievements.

“People who are doing good work have a path to move forward and advance throughout their entire career,” says David Marshall, dean of the division of humanities and fine arts at Santa Barbara.

Faculty at all ranks are also promoted in “steps,” which means that it’s possible to get a raise every few years within the same rank before moving on to the next one. A faculty member who has exceeded expectations for a particular step could skip it and move on to the next, Mr. Marshall says.

The pay hierarchy can also be changed, sometimes significantly, when the university counters an offer for a job a faculty member receives elsewhere or when the university makes an aggressive play to land a hotly sought-after assistant professor.

“Sometimes you can find assistant and associate professors with higher salaries than full professors,” says Mr. Marshall. “We’re aware of the pressure of market forces when you’re dealing with recruitment and retention. All universities are dealing with this.

“Still, we do try to keep a sense of the whole picture,” he says, “and balance that with what’s happening with individuals.”

Jonah Newman contributed to this article.

Master’s Degree for Money…Colleges Profitting

Those Master’s-Degree Programs at Elite U.? They’re For-Profit

Those Master’s-Degree Programs at Elite U.? They’re For-Profit 1

Michael Morgenstern for The Chronicle

Enlarge Image//

close Those Master’s-Degree Programs at Elite U.? They’re For-Profit 1

Michael Morgenstern for The Chronicle

Higher education has a long and fraught relationship with the labor market. From colonial colleges training clergymen to the Morrill Act, normal schools, and the great 20th-century expansion of mass higher education, colleges have always been in the business of training people for careers. The oldest university in the Western world, in Bologna, started as a law school. Ask students today why they’re going to college and the most common answer is, by far, “to get a job.”

But most colleges don’t like to see themselves that way. In educators’ own minds, they are communities of scholars above all else. Colleges tend to locate their educational missions among the lofty ideals of the humanities and liberal arts, not the pedestrian tasks of imparting marketable skills.

In part, this reflects the legitimate complexity of some institutional missions. But the fact remains that most professors were hired primarily to teach, most institutions are not research universities, most students are enrolled in preprofessional programs, and, it seems, few colleges have undergraduate curricula that match their supposed commitment to the liberal-arts ideal.

It’s a nice trick—colleges and the people who work for them enjoy both the status associated with the exalted purposes of scholarship and the money that comes from playing a crucial role in building the nation’s store of human capital. Within that contradiction is a suffocating elitism and a disrespect for people engaged in the necessary, difficult task of preparing diverse students for the increasingly volatile world of work.

Historically, this attitude has led colleges to neglect the growing market for adult students who need to enhance or retool their marketable skills. For-profit colleges entered the void. According to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Education, some of them are doing an abominable job.

To take one example: Over a 12-month period in 2008 and 2009, nearly 27,500 people began repaying student loans taken out to attend the University of Phoenix’s online associate-degree program in what the U.S. Department of Education calls “office management and supervision,” in which students learn about such things as the culture of the modern business environment and how to write memos. By the fall of 2012, 9,800 of those students—more than one-third—had defaulted on those loans, with more sure to come. Phoenix alone has 20 programs with default rates over 30 percent. Other for-profit chains are just as bad, or worse.

The scale of these programs is mind-boggling—27,500 students attempting to earn associate degrees in office management from one institution? That’s more than six times the total number of bachelor’s degrees granted annually in classics, linguistics, and comparative literature by every college and university in America.

Phoenix is clearly taking advantage of the tremendous trust and credibility that Americans have put into any organization that identifies itself as an accredited college, along with enormous sums of federal grant and loan dollars. Combining “associate degree” with “office management” is credentialism run amok. It amounts to tricking people into borrowing large amounts of money for basic white-collar skills they should be learning on the job, and which often don’t yield enough money in the labor market to pay those loans back.

This is the point in the conversation where public and private nonprofit colleges like to feel superior to those pretenders in the for-profit sector. They shouldn’t. Other new numbers from the Department of Education suggest that traditional colleges, too, have dived headfirst into the business of inventing and selling overpriced two-year credentials backed by government debt. They just call them “master’s degrees.”

Every four years, the federal government conducts a comprehensive survey of college financial aid. According to the latest results, the median debt accrued by students completing master’s degrees in 2012 was $57,600, a 31-percent increase from just four years earlier, after adjusting for inflation. The amount of debt at the 90th percentile grew even more: $153,000, up from less than $113,000 in 2008.

Some of this growth came in familiar professional fields. Medical students still borrow a lot of money, and the scandal of law-school debt continues. But some of biggest increases came in fields that nobody associates with wealth and fortune. The median debt for master’s degrees in education, for example, grew from $33,910 to $50,879 in four years. Public-school teachers didn’t exactly make out like bandits after the recession. Many took pay cuts or lost their jobs. University-based schools of education appear to be diverting the automatic raises that most teachers receive upon earning a master’s degree into their own coffers.

Median debt for people in the broad fields that grant master-of-arts degrees grew from $43,247 to nearly $59,000. Do you know any recent M.A. graduates with lots of money to burn? Similar numbers appear in the catch-all category of “other” master’s degrees. Many of these have—just like “office management”—weak ties to established professions. Medical schools and history-Ph.D. programs are accountable to the communities of doctors and historians. A one-year master’s program in something like “government” is accountable to no one.

Colleges with selective undergraduate admissions can monetize that prestige by running expensive “professional” master’s programs with lenient admission criteria that are hidden from the public eye. And because there are no hard limits on how much graduate students can borrow from the federal government, the sky’s the limit when it comes to price.

So if you’re a college president overseeing a portfolio of lucrative, heavily marketed, largely unaccountable terminal master’s-degree programs that offer little or no financial aid and charge market prices financed by debt, congratulations: You, too, own a for-profit college! And, unlike your peers at the University of Phoenix, you don’t have to pay taxes on your earnings.

The federal government should treat these programs as what they clearly are and regulate them using the same standards being applied to more obvious for-profit colleges. That would help students who navigate a stealthily treacherous education market that too often values easy money over a genuine commitment to preparing people for satisfying and productive lives.

Making Money for whom through Master’s programs

Those Master’s-Degree Programs at Elite U.? They’re For-Profit

Those Master’s-Degree Programs at Elite U.? They’re For-Profit 1

Michael Morgenstern for The Chronicle

Enlarge Image//

close Those Master’s-Degree Programs at Elite U.? They’re For-Profit 1

Michael Morgenstern for The Chronicle

Higher education has a long and fraught relationship with the labor market. From colonial colleges training clergymen to the Morrill Act, normal schools, and the great 20th-century expansion of mass higher education, colleges have always been in the business of training people for careers. The oldest university in the Western world, in Bologna, started as a law school. Ask students today why they’re going to college and the most common answer is, by far, “to get a job.”

But most colleges don’t like to see themselves that way. In educators’ own minds, they are communities of scholars above all else. Colleges tend to locate their educational missions among the lofty ideals of the humanities and liberal arts, not the pedestrian tasks of imparting marketable skills.

In part, this reflects the legitimate complexity of some institutional missions. But the fact remains that most professors were hired primarily to teach, most institutions are not research universities, most students are enrolled in preprofessional programs, and, it seems, few colleges have undergraduate curricula that match their supposed commitment to the liberal-arts ideal.

It’s a nice trick—colleges and the people who work for them enjoy both the status associated with the exalted purposes of scholarship and the money that comes from playing a crucial role in building the nation’s store of human capital. Within that contradiction is a suffocating elitism and a disrespect for people engaged in the necessary, difficult task of preparing diverse students for the increasingly volatile world of work.

Historically, this attitude has led colleges to neglect the growing market for adult students who need to enhance or retool their marketable skills. For-profit colleges entered the void. According to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Education, some of them are doing an abominable job.

To take one example: Over a 12-month period in 2008 and 2009, nearly 27,500 people began repaying student loans taken out to attend the University of Phoenix’s online associate-degree program in what the U.S. Department of Education calls “office management and supervision,” in which students learn about such things as the culture of the modern business environment and how to write memos. By the fall of 2012, 9,800 of those students—more than one-third—had defaulted on those loans, with more sure to come. Phoenix alone has 20 programs with default rates over 30 percent. Other for-profit chains are just as bad, or worse.

The scale of these programs is mind-boggling—27,500 students attempting to earn associate degrees in office management from one institution? That’s more than six times the total number of bachelor’s degrees granted annually in classics, linguistics, and comparative literature by every college and university in America.

Phoenix is clearly taking advantage of the tremendous trust and credibility that Americans have put into any organization that identifies itself as an accredited college, along with enormous sums of federal grant and loan dollars. Combining “associate degree” with “office management” is credentialism run amok. It amounts to tricking people into borrowing large amounts of money for basic white-collar skills they should be learning on the job, and which often don’t yield enough money in the labor market to pay those loans back.

This is the point in the conversation where public and private nonprofit colleges like to feel superior to those pretenders in the for-profit sector. They shouldn’t. Other new numbers from the Department of Education suggest that traditional colleges, too, have dived headfirst into the business of inventing and selling overpriced two-year credentials backed by government debt. They just call them “master’s degrees.”

Every four years, the federal government conducts a comprehensive survey of college financial aid. According to the latest results, the median debt accrued by students completing master’s degrees in 2012 was $57,600, a 31-percent increase from just four years earlier, after adjusting for inflation. The amount of debt at the 90th percentile grew even more: $153,000, up from less than $113,000 in 2008.

Some of this growth came in familiar professional fields. Medical students still borrow a lot of money, and the scandal of law-school debt continues. But some of biggest increases came in fields that nobody associates with wealth and fortune. The median debt for master’s degrees in education, for example, grew from $33,910 to $50,879 in four years. Public-school teachers didn’t exactly make out like bandits after the recession. Many took pay cuts or lost their jobs. University-based schools of education appear to be diverting the automatic raises that most teachers receive upon earning a master’s degree into their own coffers.

Median debt for people in the broad fields that grant master-of-arts degrees grew from $43,247 to nearly $59,000. Do you know any recent M.A. graduates with lots of money to burn? Similar numbers appear in the catch-all category of “other” master’s degrees. Many of these have—just like “office management”—weak ties to established professions. Medical schools and history-Ph.D. programs are accountable to the communities of doctors and historians. A one-year master’s program in something like “government” is accountable to no one.

Colleges with selective undergraduate admissions can monetize that prestige by running expensive “professional” master’s programs with lenient admission criteria that are hidden from the public eye. And because there are no hard limits on how much graduate students can borrow from the federal government, the sky’s the limit when it comes to price.

So if you’re a college president overseeing a portfolio of lucrative, heavily marketed, largely unaccountable terminal master’s-degree programs that offer little or no financial aid and charge market prices financed by debt, congratulations: You, too, own a for-profit college! And, unlike your peers at the University of Phoenix, you don’t have to pay taxes on your earnings.

The federal government should treat these programs as what they clearly are and regulate them using the same standards being applied to more obvious for-profit colleges. That would help students who navigate a stealthily treacherous education market that too often values easy money over a genuine commitment to preparing people for satisfying and productive lives.

Education=Empty Promises

Basketball Academy’s Empty Promises

For one prep team, cramped apartments, 
a few bucks for pizza, and barely any school

Basketball Academy’s Empty Promises 1

David Purdy for The Chronicle

Kingdom Prep Academy practiced 
in Kingdom Courts 
in Des Moines. 
But the busy complex had room for the team only after 9 p.m.

Six days before Christmas, Matt Najieb picked up a call from his son, Alex, an 18-year-old basketball player from Milwaukee who was spending the season at a prep school in Iowa.

“Dad, they’re arresting the coach,” Alex Najieb told his father. “They’re putting him in the police car right now.”

Alex’s team, Kingdom Prep Academy, had just finished a game in Idaho and was headed back to Des Moines through a snowstorm in Wyoming, when, according to a police video, its head coach, Joel D. Hannagan, had trouble controlling the team van.

The police stopped him and found that he was driving with a suspended license. He was handcuffed and put in a police pickup.

In the end, the police did not press charges. But the coach had to promise that he wouldn’t drive the players home, some 800 miles away. That task fell to Alex Najieb.

For Matt Najieb, the episode was a fitting climax to a semester filled with turmoil. What had started with promises of accredited classes, comfortable apartments, and big-time recruiting attention for a dozen top players had unraveled over arguments about food, unfit living conditions, and more than one conversation with the police.

Prep schools have a long history of molding players into better students and athletes. But a new wave of programs with loose academic ties is testing the virtues of the system.

Kingdom Prep is one of dozens of basketball academies that have popped up in recent years to cater to “postgrad” players—recent high-school graduates who need to improve their standardized-test scores to meet the NCAA’s academic requirements. The programs have also attracted younger players hoping to beef up their basketball skills while completing their high-school diplomas.

Many of these programs have legitimate academic affiliations and have helped players earn Division I scholarships. But some have run into legal problems, including accusations that they abused players or stole their money. Others, including Kingdom Prep, appear to have little connection to education.

The NCAA has tried to crack down. It has placed some 200 schools under an “extended review” to evaluate whether their courses meet its academic requirements. The review is not necessarily a signal of wrongdoing, but it has ferreted out problems at several prominent academies.

In September the NCAA issued guidance on “nonscholastic” programs, singling out two of the nation’s elite training grounds, Huntington Prep, in West Virginia, and Findlay Prep, in Las Vegas. Programs like those, which play a national schedule, have long operated outside the purview of state athletic associations. To meet the NCAA’s new regulations, however, they must be subject to the rules and regulations of a scholastic governing body. If they aren’t, college coaches will not be allowed to recruit in their gyms.

It’s not always clear what schools are compliant, and the NCAA does not publish a list of the offenders. Yet questionable programs continue to attract some of the country’s highest-profile recruits.

Colleges have helped support the system’s growth. Many community colleges schedule games against prep schools, covering their food and travel expenses and providing an honorarium (the colleges almost always win). Kingdom Prep brought in between $800 and $2,000 per game this season, Mr. Hannagan says, playing such teams as the College of Southern Idaho, Garden City Community College, and Hutchinson Community College and Area Vocational School.

Major-college coaches have also played a role. They sometimes encourage recruits to spend a year at a prep school to improve their athletic skills. Such moves preserve the players’ NCAA eligibility and provide colleges with additional control over the talent pool.

“A coach might say, ‘I don’t have a scholarship for this kid today, but if I put him over here I can get him next year.'”

“A coach might say, ‘I don’t have a scholarship for this kid today, but if I put him over here I can get him next year,’” says Mike Mc­Kee, associate head men’s basketball coach at the University of Denver. “The goal is to get him hot when you need him.”

But a series of failed start-ups has given the once-quaint world of prep schools a bad name. Last year the top official at a prep academy in California was arrested after four players accused him of physical abuse. At another program, in Florida, up to 20 players shared a small house with one bathroom and were forced to work on construction crews to earn their stay, one player told The Chronicle. The ABCD Prep Academy, formerly based in Dallas, left town after its founder faced accusations of tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid debts and substandard living conditions for players. That didn’t stop the coach. This season, his team started back up a few miles down the road from Kingdom Prep, in Des Moines.

Mr. Hannagan, a fast-talking former shooting guard who played at three different community colleges, says he got his start working for the Central Jersey Academy. After a stint as a coach with the Amateur Athletic Union, a popular youth basketball program, he formed his nonprofit academy, using his parents’ home address, in Johnston, Iowa. He is the academy’s sole employee.

According to a business filing with the Iowa secretary of state, his organization’s goal is “to provide an opportunity to develop Academic skills and improve college entrance exams scores.” He also applied for a federal tax exemption, which the IRS recently approved.

In an interview, Mr. Hannagan said that he started Kingdom Prep in part to give unheralded players a second chance, and that he uses his many connections to help them land scholarships.

“I tell parents, ‘If you come to my program, I will find your kid somewhere to go to school and pay little or nothing at all.'”

“I tell parents, ‘If you come to my program, I will find your kid somewhere to go to school and pay little or nothing at all,’ ” he says. “Every kid is going somewhere playing basketball.”

In a game often criticized for its fill of hustlers, Mr. Hannagan sees himself as one of the good guys. He says he holds weekly Bible studies for players and stays in an apartment near his team to help students stay out of trouble.

Unlike other coaches, Mr. Hannagan says, he has not tried to trade on his players’ talent. But he figured if he could establish a competitive program, he would attract the attention of major colleges, which could help him land a job at that level.

He has attempted to build ties with Division I programs. He helped Stevie Repichowski, who played for him two years ago, earn a scholarship to the University of Tulsa.

After signing Mr. Repichowski, Tulsa’s head coach, Danny Manning, a former college Player of the Year at the University of Kansas, publicly complimented Mr. Hannagan’s coaching. And over the past two seasons, Bruce Weber, head coach at Kansas State University, has recruited two Kingdom Prep players.

In many states, setting up a prep program is as easy as settling on a name. The Kingdom name is well known in the Des Moines area. Kingdom Hoops, a popular AAU program, has about 350 players from grades kindergarten through 11, and its tournaments attract some 900 teams a year.

Before establishing his academy, Mr. Hannagan received permission from Kingdom Hoops to use the Kingdom name. The AAU program also let him rent court time in its new 30,000-square-foot building, in an industrial area just off the interstate.

Among Kingdom Prep’s high-profile recruits this season were Quae Furlow and Jamal Poplar, two past stars of the Michigan Mustangs, a leading AAU team based in Detroit. Mr. Furlow landed in Des Moines in August, days before the rest of the team, and says he was immediately impressed with the gym. But he and several teammates had a different reaction when they saw where they were going to be living.

Before moving to Iowa, several players and their parents say, Mr. Hannagan showed them pictures of the team’s new training facilities and modern, well-lit apartments. But when they showed up, players and parents say, they were taken to cramped apartments with stained carpets.

Parents say that Mr. Hannagan assured them he would have the carpets cleaned, and promised that their sons would be well cared for. The next morning, the team ate breakfast at the coach’s church, and Mr. Hannagan drove them to a grocery to stock up on cereal, peanut butter, and snacks. But food—which cost about $12 a day per player, Mr. Hannagan estimates—became a source of tension. The coach insists he never scrimped on a meal. But several players say they often didn’t get enough to eat.

It wasn’t long, players and parents say, before the coach began complaining about money. Some parents say he reneged on aid—a charge he strongly denies. “People just weren’t paying their bills,” he told The Chronicle. Another apparent setback: A large grant he had been promised did not come through.

Prep schools can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars a year to more than $20,000, depending on their reputations (some elite East Coast programs have been around more than 200 years).

Mr. Hannagan charged $9,500, which was supposed to cover room and board, travel to several dozen games, and any tutoring or academic support students needed. The coach planned to give scholarships to his highest-profile recruits but says he expected the majority of players to pay.

It’s unclear how many did. Mr. Hannagan says he budgeted $75,000 for the season but brought in just $49,000. He says he made up the difference with help from his church and family, and with money he saved working temporary jobs in the off-season.

At the start of the school year, Kingdom Prep did not appear to have any academic affiliations.

One of parents’ biggest concerns was the lack of academic focus. At the start of the school year, Kingdom Prep did not appear to have any academic affiliations. That wasn’t a problem for many Kingdom Prep players, who had already graduated from high school. But Mr. Furlow and Mr. Poplar, a onetime University of Michigan recruit, both had one more year to complete.

Coach Hannagan took them to two local high schools to try to get them enrolled. But after meeting with school officials, both players were turned away. According to the players, the state rejected their applications, saying that transfer students must prove that they are relocating to “make a home”—not just to play sports.

Mr. Hannagan next approached officials at Ankeny Christian Academy, a private school near where the team was staying. Tuition was more than $6,000 per player, an amount that Mr. Hannagan had not budgeted. But with help from his church and his family, he says, the two players were enrolled. By then, the school year was three weeks old.

Mr. Hannagan promised the rest of the team that he would hire tutors and have classes to help them prepare for standardized tests. Some players say he gave them an ACT prep book. But the classes never happened. And when the players asked about tutors, he put them off.

The coach says he was proud that he helped Mr. Furlow and Mr. Poplar get into school, but feels bad for the others. “We just didn’t have the money,” he says. “Something had to give.”

With little else to do, players say they often just sat around in their apartments playing video games and watching television.

Although he had permission to use the Kingdom name and rent gym time in the building, Mr. Hannagan’s team was low on the pecking order at Kingdom Hoops. His players couldn’t get practice time most nights until after 9 p.m. So with no school to attend and little else to do, players say they often just sat around in their apartments playing video games and watching television. The idle time contributed to a series of off-court problems. Several times last year, the local police responded to calls about noise. On more than one occasion, neighbors also reported smelling marijuana.

After returning from a tournament in Kansas, Mr. Furlow noticed that his new $500 flat-screen was missing. The players say they asked Mr. Hannagan for help, but he told them to call the police themselves. (The coach disputes their account.)

Frustrated at his lack of support, several players say, they broke into the coach’s apartment and stole some $5,000 worth of items, including two laptops and 13 pairs of Air Jordans.

When the coach reported the incident to the police, he initially did not know who was responsible. He later found the culprits when one player tried to sell his shoes on Twitter.

Mr. Hannagan confronted the player, and his merchandise was returned. He did not press charges, he told the police, because he feared it would implicate too many players and the team would have difficulty finishing its season.

By then, though, many Kingdom players were already leaving. After the incident in Wyoming, Mr. Najieb headed back to Milwaukee. He has since accepted a scholarship to play basketball at a community college in Arizona. Mr. Furlow says he is taking online classes, and hopes to complete his high school this semester.

In mid-November, Mr. Poplar told the coach that he planned to return home to Michigan. But the coach didn’t want him to leave. The two got into a heated argument outside the players’ apartments, and someone called the police. With a crowd gathered, Mr. Hannagan kicked a grill and, according to a police report, started yelling at the player, saying he had invested a lot of time and money and didn’t want him to “throw it away.” Once the police showed up, everyone cooled off. But days later, the star player moved out.

Mr. Poplar returned to Iowa in January to give Kingdom one more go. But a month later the program had just four players, and Mr. Hannagan had moved them into the basement of his parents’ home.

Mr. Poplar thought the coach’s heart was in the right place, but he says he regrets ever leaving his home state: “I could have played my senior year” in Michigan “and never had any problems.”

Next season he plans to play for the College of Southern Idaho, one of the country’s top-ranked junior-college programs. He met the team’s head coach, Jeremy Cox, a former University of Kentucky assistant, through Mr. Hannagan.

As for Mr. Hannagan, he has not figured out a plan for Kingdom Prep to join a scholastic association. That would continue to limit NCAA coaches from recruiting his players. But he has not given up his dream. He was overlooked more than a few times himself on the court, and he knows there are plenty of players out there just like him, looking for another shot at the big time.

He says he needs to pay more attention to the character of players before signing them up.

But he plans to be ready next season. He recently met with a local foundation leader about combining operations. And he says he has hired a fund-raising consultant.

“If I get $50,000, $75,000 donated to my program, I’ll be able to make some money off this,” he says. In the meantime, he hopes to keep working with Ankeny Christian and Kingdom Hoops.

“I have a school, a gym now. Now kids are going to be in a classroom setting. I feel like I’m really on the verge.”

Education=Empty Promises

Basketball Academy’s Empty Promises

For one prep team, cramped apartments, 
a few bucks for pizza, and barely any school

Basketball Academy’s Empty Promises 1

David Purdy for The Chronicle

Kingdom Prep Academy practiced 
in Kingdom Courts 
in Des Moines. 
But the busy complex had room for the team only after 9 p.m.

Six days before Christmas, Matt Najieb picked up a call from his son, Alex, an 18-year-old basketball player from Milwaukee who was spending the season at a prep school in Iowa.

“Dad, they’re arresting the coach,” Alex Najieb told his father. “They’re putting him in the police car right now.”

Alex’s team, Kingdom Prep Academy, had just finished a game in Idaho and was headed back to Des Moines through a snowstorm in Wyoming, when, according to a police video, its head coach, Joel D. Hannagan, had trouble controlling the team van.

The police stopped him and found that he was driving with a suspended license. He was handcuffed and put in a police pickup.

In the end, the police did not press charges. But the coach had to promise that he wouldn’t drive the players home, some 800 miles away. That task fell to Alex Najieb.

For Matt Najieb, the episode was a fitting climax to a semester filled with turmoil. What had started with promises of accredited classes, comfortable apartments, and big-time recruiting attention for a dozen top players had unraveled over arguments about food, unfit living conditions, and more than one conversation with the police.

Prep schools have a long history of molding players into better students and athletes. But a new wave of programs with loose academic ties is testing the virtues of the system.

Kingdom Prep is one of dozens of basketball academies that have popped up in recent years to cater to “postgrad” players—recent high-school graduates who need to improve their standardized-test scores to meet the NCAA’s academic requirements. The programs have also attracted younger players hoping to beef up their basketball skills while completing their high-school diplomas.

Many of these programs have legitimate academic affiliations and have helped players earn Division I scholarships. But some have run into legal problems, including accusations that they abused players or stole their money. Others, including Kingdom Prep, appear to have little connection to education.

The NCAA has tried to crack down. It has placed some 200 schools under an “extended review” to evaluate whether their courses meet its academic requirements. The review is not necessarily a signal of wrongdoing, but it has ferreted out problems at several prominent academies.

In September the NCAA issued guidance on “nonscholastic” programs, singling out two of the nation’s elite training grounds, Huntington Prep, in West Virginia, and Findlay Prep, in Las Vegas. Programs like those, which play a national schedule, have long operated outside the purview of state athletic associations. To meet the NCAA’s new regulations, however, they must be subject to the rules and regulations of a scholastic governing body. If they aren’t, college coaches will not be allowed to recruit in their gyms.

It’s not always clear what schools are compliant, and the NCAA does not publish a list of the offenders. Yet questionable programs continue to attract some of the country’s highest-profile recruits.

Colleges have helped support the system’s growth. Many community colleges schedule games against prep schools, covering their food and travel expenses and providing an honorarium (the colleges almost always win). Kingdom Prep brought in between $800 and $2,000 per game this season, Mr. Hannagan says, playing such teams as the College of Southern Idaho, Garden City Community College, and Hutchinson Community College and Area Vocational School.

Major-college coaches have also played a role. They sometimes encourage recruits to spend a year at a prep school to improve their athletic skills. Such moves preserve the players’ NCAA eligibility and provide colleges with additional control over the talent pool.

“A coach might say, ‘I don’t have a scholarship for this kid today, but if I put him over here I can get him next year.'”

“A coach might say, ‘I don’t have a scholarship for this kid today, but if I put him over here I can get him next year,’” says Mike Mc­Kee, associate head men’s basketball coach at the University of Denver. “The goal is to get him hot when you need him.”

But a series of failed start-ups has given the once-quaint world of prep schools a bad name. Last year the top official at a prep academy in California was arrested after four players accused him of physical abuse. At another program, in Florida, up to 20 players shared a small house with one bathroom and were forced to work on construction crews to earn their stay, one player told The Chronicle. The ABCD Prep Academy, formerly based in Dallas, left town after its founder faced accusations of tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid debts and substandard living conditions for players. That didn’t stop the coach. This season, his team started back up a few miles down the road from Kingdom Prep, in Des Moines.

Mr. Hannagan, a fast-talking former shooting guard who played at three different community colleges, says he got his start working for the Central Jersey Academy. After a stint as a coach with the Amateur Athletic Union, a popular youth basketball program, he formed his nonprofit academy, using his parents’ home address, in Johnston, Iowa. He is the academy’s sole employee.

According to a business filing with the Iowa secretary of state, his organization’s goal is “to provide an opportunity to develop Academic skills and improve college entrance exams scores.” He also applied for a federal tax exemption, which the IRS recently approved.

In an interview, Mr. Hannagan said that he started Kingdom Prep in part to give unheralded players a second chance, and that he uses his many connections to help them land scholarships.

“I tell parents, ‘If you come to my program, I will find your kid somewhere to go to school and pay little or nothing at all.'”

“I tell parents, ‘If you come to my program, I will find your kid somewhere to go to school and pay little or nothing at all,’ ” he says. “Every kid is going somewhere playing basketball.”

In a game often criticized for its fill of hustlers, Mr. Hannagan sees himself as one of the good guys. He says he holds weekly Bible studies for players and stays in an apartment near his team to help students stay out of trouble.

Unlike other coaches, Mr. Hannagan says, he has not tried to trade on his players’ talent. But he figured if he could establish a competitive program, he would attract the attention of major colleges, which could help him land a job at that level.

He has attempted to build ties with Division I programs. He helped Stevie Repichowski, who played for him two years ago, earn a scholarship to the University of Tulsa.

After signing Mr. Repichowski, Tulsa’s head coach, Danny Manning, a former college Player of the Year at the University of Kansas, publicly complimented Mr. Hannagan’s coaching. And over the past two seasons, Bruce Weber, head coach at Kansas State University, has recruited two Kingdom Prep players.

In many states, setting up a prep program is as easy as settling on a name. The Kingdom name is well known in the Des Moines area. Kingdom Hoops, a popular AAU program, has about 350 players from grades kindergarten through 11, and its tournaments attract some 900 teams a year.

Before establishing his academy, Mr. Hannagan received permission from Kingdom Hoops to use the Kingdom name. The AAU program also let him rent court time in its new 30,000-square-foot building, in an industrial area just off the interstate.

Among Kingdom Prep’s high-profile recruits this season were Quae Furlow and Jamal Poplar, two past stars of the Michigan Mustangs, a leading AAU team based in Detroit. Mr. Furlow landed in Des Moines in August, days before the rest of the team, and says he was immediately impressed with the gym. But he and several teammates had a different reaction when they saw where they were going to be living.

Before moving to Iowa, several players and their parents say, Mr. Hannagan showed them pictures of the team’s new training facilities and modern, well-lit apartments. But when they showed up, players and parents say, they were taken to cramped apartments with stained carpets.

Parents say that Mr. Hannagan assured them he would have the carpets cleaned, and promised that their sons would be well cared for. The next morning, the team ate breakfast at the coach’s church, and Mr. Hannagan drove them to a grocery to stock up on cereal, peanut butter, and snacks. But food—which cost about $12 a day per player, Mr. Hannagan estimates—became a source of tension. The coach insists he never scrimped on a meal. But several players say they often didn’t get enough to eat.

It wasn’t long, players and parents say, before the coach began complaining about money. Some parents say he reneged on aid—a charge he strongly denies. “People just weren’t paying their bills,” he told The Chronicle. Another apparent setback: A large grant he had been promised did not come through.

Prep schools can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars a year to more than $20,000, depending on their reputations (some elite East Coast programs have been around more than 200 years).

Mr. Hannagan charged $9,500, which was supposed to cover room and board, travel to several dozen games, and any tutoring or academic support students needed. The coach planned to give scholarships to his highest-profile recruits but says he expected the majority of players to pay.

It’s unclear how many did. Mr. Hannagan says he budgeted $75,000 for the season but brought in just $49,000. He says he made up the difference with help from his church and family, and with money he saved working temporary jobs in the off-season.

At the start of the school year, Kingdom Prep did not appear to have any academic affiliations.

One of parents’ biggest concerns was the lack of academic focus. At the start of the school year, Kingdom Prep did not appear to have any academic affiliations. That wasn’t a problem for many Kingdom Prep players, who had already graduated from high school. But Mr. Furlow and Mr. Poplar, a onetime University of Michigan recruit, both had one more year to complete.

Coach Hannagan took them to two local high schools to try to get them enrolled. But after meeting with school officials, both players were turned away. According to the players, the state rejected their applications, saying that transfer students must prove that they are relocating to “make a home”—not just to play sports.

Mr. Hannagan next approached officials at Ankeny Christian Academy, a private school near where the team was staying. Tuition was more than $6,000 per player, an amount that Mr. Hannagan had not budgeted. But with help from his church and his family, he says, the two players were enrolled. By then, the school year was three weeks old.

Mr. Hannagan promised the rest of the team that he would hire tutors and have classes to help them prepare for standardized tests. Some players say he gave them an ACT prep book. But the classes never happened. And when the players asked about tutors, he put them off.

The coach says he was proud that he helped Mr. Furlow and Mr. Poplar get into school, but feels bad for the others. “We just didn’t have the money,” he says. “Something had to give.”

With little else to do, players say they often just sat around in their apartments playing video games and watching television.

Although he had permission to use the Kingdom name and rent gym time in the building, Mr. Hannagan’s team was low on the pecking order at Kingdom Hoops. His players couldn’t get practice time most nights until after 9 p.m. So with no school to attend and little else to do, players say they often just sat around in their apartments playing video games and watching television. The idle time contributed to a series of off-court problems. Several times last year, the local police responded to calls about noise. On more than one occasion, neighbors also reported smelling marijuana.

After returning from a tournament in Kansas, Mr. Furlow noticed that his new $500 flat-screen was missing. The players say they asked Mr. Hannagan for help, but he told them to call the police themselves. (The coach disputes their account.)

Frustrated at his lack of support, several players say, they broke into the coach’s apartment and stole some $5,000 worth of items, including two laptops and 13 pairs of Air Jordans.

When the coach reported the incident to the police, he initially did not know who was responsible. He later found the culprits when one player tried to sell his shoes on Twitter.

Mr. Hannagan confronted the player, and his merchandise was returned. He did not press charges, he told the police, because he feared it would implicate too many players and the team would have difficulty finishing its season.

By then, though, many Kingdom players were already leaving. After the incident in Wyoming, Mr. Najieb headed back to Milwaukee. He has since accepted a scholarship to play basketball at a community college in Arizona. Mr. Furlow says he is taking online classes, and hopes to complete his high school this semester.

In mid-November, Mr. Poplar told the coach that he planned to return home to Michigan. But the coach didn’t want him to leave. The two got into a heated argument outside the players’ apartments, and someone called the police. With a crowd gathered, Mr. Hannagan kicked a grill and, according to a police report, started yelling at the player, saying he had invested a lot of time and money and didn’t want him to “throw it away.” Once the police showed up, everyone cooled off. But days later, the star player moved out.

Mr. Poplar returned to Iowa in January to give Kingdom one more go. But a month later the program had just four players, and Mr. Hannagan had moved them into the basement of his parents’ home.

Mr. Poplar thought the coach’s heart was in the right place, but he says he regrets ever leaving his home state: “I could have played my senior year” in Michigan “and never had any problems.”

Next season he plans to play for the College of Southern Idaho, one of the country’s top-ranked junior-college programs. He met the team’s head coach, Jeremy Cox, a former University of Kentucky assistant, through Mr. Hannagan.

As for Mr. Hannagan, he has not figured out a plan for Kingdom Prep to join a scholastic association. That would continue to limit NCAA coaches from recruiting his players. But he has not given up his dream. He was overlooked more than a few times himself on the court, and he knows there are plenty of players out there just like him, looking for another shot at the big time.

He says he needs to pay more attention to the character of players before signing them up.

But he plans to be ready next season. He recently met with a local foundation leader about combining operations. And he says he has hired a fund-raising consultant.

“If I get $50,000, $75,000 donated to my program, I’ll be able to make some money off this,” he says. In the meantime, he hopes to keep working with Ankeny Christian and Kingdom Hoops.

“I have a school, a gym now. Now kids are going to be in a classroom setting. I feel like I’m really on the verge.”

Education and Empty Promises

Basketball Academy’s Empty Promises

For one prep team, cramped apartments, 
a few bucks for pizza, and barely any school

Basketball Academy’s Empty Promises 1

David Purdy for The Chronicle

Kingdom Prep Academy practiced 
in Kingdom Courts 
in Des Moines. 
But the busy complex had room for the team only after 9 p.m.

Six days before Christmas, Matt Najieb picked up a call from his son, Alex, an 18-year-old basketball player from Milwaukee who was spending the season at a prep school in Iowa.

“Dad, they’re arresting the coach,” Alex Najieb told his father. “They’re putting him in the police car right now.”

Alex’s team, Kingdom Prep Academy, had just finished a game in Idaho and was headed back to Des Moines through a snowstorm in Wyoming, when, according to a police video, its head coach, Joel D. Hannagan, had trouble controlling the team van.

The police stopped him and found that he was driving with a suspended license. He was handcuffed and put in a police pickup.

In the end, the police did not press charges. But the coach had to promise that he wouldn’t drive the players home, some 800 miles away. That task fell to Alex Najieb.

For Matt Najieb, the episode was a fitting climax to a semester filled with turmoil. What had started with promises of accredited classes, comfortable apartments, and big-time recruiting attention for a dozen top players had unraveled over arguments about food, unfit living conditions, and more than one conversation with the police.

Prep schools have a long history of molding players into better students and athletes. But a new wave of programs with loose academic ties is testing the virtues of the system.

Kingdom Prep is one of dozens of basketball academies that have popped up in recent years to cater to “postgrad” players—recent high-school graduates who need to improve their standardized-test scores to meet the NCAA’s academic requirements. The programs have also attracted younger players hoping to beef up their basketball skills while completing their high-school diplomas.

Many of these programs have legitimate academic affiliations and have helped players earn Division I scholarships. But some have run into legal problems, including accusations that they abused players or stole their money. Others, including Kingdom Prep, appear to have little connection to education.

The NCAA has tried to crack down. It has placed some 200 schools under an “extended review” to evaluate whether their courses meet its academic requirements. The review is not necessarily a signal of wrongdoing, but it has ferreted out problems at several prominent academies.

In September the NCAA issued guidance on “nonscholastic” programs, singling out two of the nation’s elite training grounds, Huntington Prep, in West Virginia, and Findlay Prep, in Las Vegas. Programs like those, which play a national schedule, have long operated outside the purview of state athletic associations. To meet the NCAA’s new regulations, however, they must be subject to the rules and regulations of a scholastic governing body. If they aren’t, college coaches will not be allowed to recruit in their gyms.

It’s not always clear what schools are compliant, and the NCAA does not publish a list of the offenders. Yet questionable programs continue to attract some of the country’s highest-profile recruits.

Colleges have helped support the system’s growth. Many community colleges schedule games against prep schools, covering their food and travel expenses and providing an honorarium (the colleges almost always win). Kingdom Prep brought in between $800 and $2,000 per game this season, Mr. Hannagan says, playing such teams as the College of Southern Idaho, Garden City Community College, and Hutchinson Community College and Area Vocational School.

Major-college coaches have also played a role. They sometimes encourage recruits to spend a year at a prep school to improve their athletic skills. Such moves preserve the players’ NCAA eligibility and provide colleges with additional control over the talent pool.

“A coach might say, ‘I don’t have a scholarship for this kid today, but if I put him over here I can get him next year.'”

“A coach might say, ‘I don’t have a scholarship for this kid today, but if I put him over here I can get him next year,’” says Mike Mc­Kee, associate head men’s basketball coach at the University of Denver. “The goal is to get him hot when you need him.”

But a series of failed start-ups has given the once-quaint world of prep schools a bad name. Last year the top official at a prep academy in California was arrested after four players accused him of physical abuse. At another program, in Florida, up to 20 players shared a small house with one bathroom and were forced to work on construction crews to earn their stay, one player told The Chronicle. The ABCD Prep Academy, formerly based in Dallas, left town after its founder faced accusations of tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid debts and substandard living conditions for players. That didn’t stop the coach. This season, his team started back up a few miles down the road from Kingdom Prep, in Des Moines.

Mr. Hannagan, a fast-talking former shooting guard who played at three different community colleges, says he got his start working for the Central Jersey Academy. After a stint as a coach with the Amateur Athletic Union, a popular youth basketball program, he formed his nonprofit academy, using his parents’ home address, in Johnston, Iowa. He is the academy’s sole employee.

According to a business filing with the Iowa secretary of state, his organization’s goal is “to provide an opportunity to develop Academic skills and improve college entrance exams scores.” He also applied for a federal tax exemption, which the IRS recently approved.

In an interview, Mr. Hannagan said that he started Kingdom Prep in part to give unheralded players a second chance, and that he uses his many connections to help them land scholarships.

“I tell parents, ‘If you come to my program, I will find your kid somewhere to go to school and pay little or nothing at all.'”

“I tell parents, ‘If you come to my program, I will find your kid somewhere to go to school and pay little or nothing at all,’ ” he says. “Every kid is going somewhere playing basketball.”

In a game often criticized for its fill of hustlers, Mr. Hannagan sees himself as one of the good guys. He says he holds weekly Bible studies for players and stays in an apartment near his team to help students stay out of trouble.

Unlike other coaches, Mr. Hannagan says, he has not tried to trade on his players’ talent. But he figured if he could establish a competitive program, he would attract the attention of major colleges, which could help him land a job at that level.

He has attempted to build ties with Division I programs. He helped Stevie Repichowski, who played for him two years ago, earn a scholarship to the University of Tulsa.

After signing Mr. Repichowski, Tulsa’s head coach, Danny Manning, a former college Player of the Year at the University of Kansas, publicly complimented Mr. Hannagan’s coaching. And over the past two seasons, Bruce Weber, head coach at Kansas State University, has recruited two Kingdom Prep players.

In many states, setting up a prep program is as easy as settling on a name. The Kingdom name is well known in the Des Moines area. Kingdom Hoops, a popular AAU program, has about 350 players from grades kindergarten through 11, and its tournaments attract some 900 teams a year.

Before establishing his academy, Mr. Hannagan received permission from Kingdom Hoops to use the Kingdom name. The AAU program also let him rent court time in its new 30,000-square-foot building, in an industrial area just off the interstate.

Among Kingdom Prep’s high-profile recruits this season were Quae Furlow and Jamal Poplar, two past stars of the Michigan Mustangs, a leading AAU team based in Detroit. Mr. Furlow landed in Des Moines in August, days before the rest of the team, and says he was immediately impressed with the gym. But he and several teammates had a different reaction when they saw where they were going to be living.

Before moving to Iowa, several players and their parents say, Mr. Hannagan showed them pictures of the team’s new training facilities and modern, well-lit apartments. But when they showed up, players and parents say, they were taken to cramped apartments with stained carpets.

Parents say that Mr. Hannagan assured them he would have the carpets cleaned, and promised that their sons would be well cared for. The next morning, the team ate breakfast at the coach’s church, and Mr. Hannagan drove them to a grocery to stock up on cereal, peanut butter, and snacks. But food—which cost about $12 a day per player, Mr. Hannagan estimates—became a source of tension. The coach insists he never scrimped on a meal. But several players say they often didn’t get enough to eat.

It wasn’t long, players and parents say, before the coach began complaining about money. Some parents say he reneged on aid—a charge he strongly denies. “People just weren’t paying their bills,” he told The Chronicle. Another apparent setback: A large grant he had been promised did not come through.

Prep schools can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars a year to more than $20,000, depending on their reputations (some elite East Coast programs have been around more than 200 years).

Mr. Hannagan charged $9,500, which was supposed to cover room and board, travel to several dozen games, and any tutoring or academic support students needed. The coach planned to give scholarships to his highest-profile recruits but says he expected the majority of players to pay.

It’s unclear how many did. Mr. Hannagan says he budgeted $75,000 for the season but brought in just $49,000. He says he made up the difference with help from his church and family, and with money he saved working temporary jobs in the off-season.

At the start of the school year, Kingdom Prep did not appear to have any academic affiliations.

One of parents’ biggest concerns was the lack of academic focus. At the start of the school year, Kingdom Prep did not appear to have any academic affiliations. That wasn’t a problem for many Kingdom Prep players, who had already graduated from high school. But Mr. Furlow and Mr. Poplar, a onetime University of Michigan recruit, both had one more year to complete.

Coach Hannagan took them to two local high schools to try to get them enrolled. But after meeting with school officials, both players were turned away. According to the players, the state rejected their applications, saying that transfer students must prove that they are relocating to “make a home”—not just to play sports.

Mr. Hannagan next approached officials at Ankeny Christian Academy, a private school near where the team was staying. Tuition was more than $6,000 per player, an amount that Mr. Hannagan had not budgeted. But with help from his church and his family, he says, the two players were enrolled. By then, the school year was three weeks old.

Mr. Hannagan promised the rest of the team that he would hire tutors and have classes to help them prepare for standardized tests. Some players say he gave them an ACT prep book. But the classes never happened. And when the players asked about tutors, he put them off.

The coach says he was proud that he helped Mr. Furlow and Mr. Poplar get into school, but feels bad for the others. “We just didn’t have the money,” he says. “Something had to give.”

With little else to do, players say they often just sat around in their apartments playing video games and watching television.

Although he had permission to use the Kingdom name and rent gym time in the building, Mr. Hannagan’s team was low on the pecking order at Kingdom Hoops. His players couldn’t get practice time most nights until after 9 p.m. So with no school to attend and little else to do, players say they often just sat around in their apartments playing video games and watching television. The idle time contributed to a series of off-court problems. Several times last year, the local police responded to calls about noise. On more than one occasion, neighbors also reported smelling marijuana.

After returning from a tournament in Kansas, Mr. Furlow noticed that his new $500 flat-screen was missing. The players say they asked Mr. Hannagan for help, but he told them to call the police themselves. (The coach disputes their account.)

Frustrated at his lack of support, several players say, they broke into the coach’s apartment and stole some $5,000 worth of items, including two laptops and 13 pairs of Air Jordans.

When the coach reported the incident to the police, he initially did not know who was responsible. He later found the culprits when one player tried to sell his shoes on Twitter.

Mr. Hannagan confronted the player, and his merchandise was returned. He did not press charges, he told the police, because he feared it would implicate too many players and the team would have difficulty finishing its season.

By then, though, many Kingdom players were already leaving. After the incident in Wyoming, Mr. Najieb headed back to Milwaukee. He has since accepted a scholarship to play basketball at a community college in Arizona. Mr. Furlow says he is taking online classes, and hopes to complete his high school this semester.

In mid-November, Mr. Poplar told the coach that he planned to return home to Michigan. But the coach didn’t want him to leave. The two got into a heated argument outside the players’ apartments, and someone called the police. With a crowd gathered, Mr. Hannagan kicked a grill and, according to a police report, started yelling at the player, saying he had invested a lot of time and money and didn’t want him to “throw it away.” Once the police showed up, everyone cooled off. But days later, the star player moved out.

Mr. Poplar returned to Iowa in January to give Kingdom one more go. But a month later the program had just four players, and Mr. Hannagan had moved them into the basement of his parents’ home.

Mr. Poplar thought the coach’s heart was in the right place, but he says he regrets ever leaving his home state: “I could have played my senior year” in Michigan “and never had any problems.”

Next season he plans to play for the College of Southern Idaho, one of the country’s top-ranked junior-college programs. He met the team’s head coach, Jeremy Cox, a former University of Kentucky assistant, through Mr. Hannagan.

As for Mr. Hannagan, he has not figured out a plan for Kingdom Prep to join a scholastic association. That would continue to limit NCAA coaches from recruiting his players. But he has not given up his dream. He was overlooked more than a few times himself on the court, and he knows there are plenty of players out there just like him, looking for another shot at the big time.

He says he needs to pay more attention to the character of players before signing them up.

But he plans to be ready next season. He recently met with a local foundation leader about combining operations. And he says he has hired a fund-raising consultant.

“If I get $50,000, $75,000 donated to my program, I’ll be able to make some money off this,” he says. In the meantime, he hopes to keep working with Ankeny Christian and Kingdom Hoops.

“I have a school, a gym now. Now kids are going to be in a classroom setting. I feel like I’m really on the verge.”

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