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Students Squeezed For Higher College Tuition As Administrative Salaries Rise

U.S.currency. (credit: BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S.currency. (credit: BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images)

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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(CBS) — Anyone in college knows that paying the bills can be just plain hard.

Fourteen million full-time college students work at least part-time to pay their tuition. Nationally, tuition has increased an average of 8 percent since 2009.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker looks at what students are up against.

Marisela Soto, a full-time college student, works two jobs to stay in school.

She started at the University of Chicago. At this prestigious university, the president makes more than $1.5 million a year. Tuition was $46,000. Marisela’s family couldn’t afford it, so she dropped out.

“It was very disappointing,” she says.

Today, Soto attends Aurora University, where tuition is $20,000. She considers herself lucky because almost half of her tuition is covered by scholarships, and her parents also help. Her share is $5,000 and she needs both paychecks to pay that and other expenses.

How stressful is it to work 25 hours a week?

“It’s very stressful. Not only do I have to worry about all the work I have to complete but as well as my responsibilities at my job,” she says.

Since 2009,  tuition at Aurora University rose 10 percent, and the University president’s pay increased 15 percent to $436,000. Today, 11 top administrators there earn combined salaries of more than $2 million, but they oversee three campuses.

“Instead of having vice presidents and presidents on all of our campuses, such as the state institutions do, we have a single senior leadership team,” President Rebecca Sherrick says.

She says she and senior officers are also required to give back 10 percent of their salaries, which helps  keep tuition among the lowest of any private college in the state.

David Hanna has two daughters in college. One attends University of Illinois at Chicago, where tuition has risen nearly 17 percent percent since 2009 and now tops $13,000.  Pay for 38 administrators and senior officers at UIC exceeds $7 million. In addition, the mortician salary alone is $401,000.

“It’s wrong. There needs to be some adjustments,” Hanna says.

UIC says that rising tuition is not tied to administrator salaries, but to less money coming from the state. Hanna says it’s tough on his family.

“You go from living somewhat comfortably to paycheck to paycheck almost because tuition bills have to be paid,” he says.

UIC added that 55 percent of students there receive financial aid and that salaries are in keeping with other universities.

University of Chicago says financial aid is growing significantly faster than tuition and that more than half its students receive need-based aid, which averages $35,000 per year.

It also says the president oversees a research institution, a medical center and two national laboratories that employ 17,000 people.