Faculty Raises at UCA still on hold

A battle is brewing on the UCA campus over pay raises.

Professors there have not received one in two years and according to some officials, some professors are ready to start looking for better paying jobs elsewhere if they don't get one.

Tom Courtway, who became UCA's President last December, said he recognizes professors need a raise but the school is still struggling financially after paying too much out-of-pocket on capital improvements in recent years and drops in enrollment. Courtway has been with the university for 10 years.

He said, "It would be the equivalent of a family wanting to add on to their house, and instead of going and getting a second mortgage and paying that out over 20 or 30 years, they pay for the addition out of their checkbook. So it gives you less money for groceries and pay your utilities with."

Courtway said the school is trying to build up reserves before taking on more in their budget. The Board of Trustees approved a tuition hike two months ago but that money won't go to the faculty. It will pay for what the school is calling critical needs, rising costs and a salary adjustment for Courtway.

According to the new president, a two percent raise for professors and staff would cost the school $1.7 million. He said that is something they can't do now but could happen by next fall if enrollment increases.

"We need to compensate them as well as the staff members who work here for them and we expect to do that."

According to records, UCA's average full time professor salary is $78,800 a year. That's about $25,000 less than the average professor salary at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.