How Many Classes Would a Bay Area Adjunct Have to Teach to Afford...?

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That was the fundamental question researchers asked when putting together this groundbreaking new report about the living and working conditions of San Francisco Bay Area adjunct faculty at 9 different area nonprofit four-year institutions of higher education.

Some of the findings?

  • A typical adjunct professor would have to teach 23 to 32 classes a year to afford rent and utilities in the San Francisco Bay Area--or 38 to 52 classes to afford rent and utilities in the city of San Francisco.

“A lot of my friends are living in rent-controlled apartments, and it feels like there’s this sort of sword hoisted above your head at all times, because when you lose that, most of us are not going to be able to afford housing at what is now the market rate. The market rate has just gone bananas,” explained one adjunct faculty member interviewed.

  • An adjunct professor would need to teach 0.5 to 1 class to afford the lowest priced single coverage health insurance.
  • An adjunct professor would need to teach 1 to 2 classes to afford the lowest price health insurance for family coverage. These low premiums often come with high deductibles—$2,000 per year for individuals and $4,000 for families—before the insurance plan will cover certain services, including some prescription drugs, emergency room visits and hospital stays.

"After paying to cover a family of five for health insurance through my employer, I ended up getting only $22 per paycheck every two weeks. Besides medical insurance, I wasn’t able to pay for anything else, so that’s when I realized this isn’t going to work," said one adjunct professor interviewed.

  • An adjunct professor would need to teach from 0.7 to 1.3 classes per year to cover the cost of groceries for one person.
  • An adjunct professor would need to teach up to 4.5 classes per year to cover the cost of groceries for a family.

"Definitely since I’ve been teaching, I have been a little more economical. It led me to eat less and prepare food myself. Definitely, I am a little more frugal in terms of buying food these days. It has had an impact—I am a lot slimmer,” said one adjunct.

Learn more about the realities of being an adjunct professor in the San Francisco Bay Area today and what some adjuncts are doing to bring positive changes for themselves, their families and their students.