UC Office of the President releases payroll report

The UC Office of the President released the University of California’s annual payroll report for 2010 Wednesday, revealing a recent trend of declining state funding for employee compensation.

The report, which outlines both the sources funding payroll and the groups receiving compensation, pinpoints the two major sources for funding of the payroll as state general funds, which includes educational fees and teaching hospitals.

State funding for payroll declined by $174 million to 26.7 percent in 2010, making up 2 percent less of the total payroll than in 2009. Total pay from teaching hospitals increased by $76 million, .4 percent higher than the fraction of total compensation it made up in 2009, according to the report.

In 2008, however, state general funds and educational fees made up over 30 percent of payroll funding, according to the 2008 payroll report.

“(The decline) makes it harder to pay our staff and faculty, makes it harder to keep tuition levels stable, makes it harder to keep our buildings running,” said Leslie Sepuka, a spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, in an email.

Sepuka added that the decline in state funding especially affects the university because state funds are flexible, whereas grants, for instance, are not.

“I think the key point is that the funds from the state are unrestricted — so the university has the flexibility to use them where it sees a need,” Sepuka said in the email. “If the university gets a grant for a specific purpose (melanoma research) you can’t use it to keep the library open for extended hours during finals.”

Although funding from federal government sources increased by $80 million, the increase was due primarily to increased funding for research, according to a press release from the UC Office of the President. Sepuka said the increased funding is a step in the right direction for the university.

“The medical centers have been growing,” Sepuka said. “They also help support the medical schools and students — so that is a positive for the university,” said Sepuka in an email.

The growth in research expenditures also explains the total payroll increase to just under $1 billion in 2010, a 1 percent increase from 2009. However, the rise is smaller compared to previous years, according to the press release.

Sepuka said the increase in research spending shows the importance of the university — which develops more patents than any university in the nation — in the scientific community.

Health care personnel made up the largest percentage of payroll for any single group, academic or non-academic, with 21.6 percent of compensation funding going to the group — almost .5 percent higher than their fraction of the total payroll in 2009. Health care personnel have made up the largest percentage of payroll since 2007, according to calendar year payroll reports from previous years.

In the 2005-2006 fiscal year, health care personnel made up a little more  than half of the payroll percentage they made up in total 2010 UC employee compensation, according to a 2005-2006 fiscal year payroll report.

Health sciences faculty members remain among the top 10 earning employees at the university, along with athletic coaches who — unlike faculty — are paid from non-state funds, according to the press release. These faculty members are often well-known in the medical community and receive much of their income from their clinical practices at UC medical centers.

According to the report, about 40 percent of payroll went to academic personnel, such as professors, lecturers, student assistants and librarians.

In fiscal year 2005-06, academic personnel made up almost 80 percent of total compensation, nearly double what they did in 2010, according to the 2005-06 fiscal year report.

See the reporter’s notes here.


Damian Ortellado covers higher education.