From Deseret News:
The pay is low and the benefits are usually zero. Some work three jobs, and at least one, with a master's degree from Middlebury, ended up homeless.
It's a hard life for adjunct professors.
If you don't equate professors with poverty, consider that adjuncts are paid $2,700 per three-credit course, according to the American Association of University Professors. That comes to just $16,200 a year for a full course load.
Adjuncts now teach the majority of college courses, according to the American Association of University Professors. That's a switch from two decades ago, and a fact that might surprise parents and students writing out big tuition checks.
These instructors often take on second jobs and do summer work. But even teaching eight courses a year — far more than most tenured professors teach — they will only bring in about $21,000 a year. According to a study by Adjunct Action and SEIU in Boston, an adjunct would have to teach between 17 and 24 classes a year — an impossible task — to afford a home and utilities in Boston.
A new bill might give these instructors — often highly educated and thrown into the now-crowded academic job market — a big break. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois introduced a bill last Thursday that would wipe out student loans for struggling non-tenured professors.
More than half of the faculty at public colleges in Illinois work on a part-time basis, according to Durbin, and many are not eligible for federal student loan forgiveness because they aren't considered full-time employees.
"As their budgets have tightened, colleges and universities have become increasingly reliant upon part-time adjunct faculty who face low pay, few if any benefits, and minimal job security," Durbin said in a statement.
"The vast majority of these educators hold advanced degrees, and as a result, bear the heavy burden of student loan debt. It is only right that we expand their access to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, a benefit already available to many of their full-time colleagues."
Durbin's proposal would open up the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to adjuncts, a program open to borrowers who make 120 payments, or 10 years of on-time loan checks, while working for governments or nonprofits, like a university. After that, they could have some or all of their federal student debt wiped out.