Scholars for a New Deal for Higher Education is committed to federal investment in higher education in order to bring living wages and benefits to all higher education workers — students, staff, and faculty.
Higher education is one of the largest economic and employment sectors in the U.S. Public and private campuses account for employment in research, teaching and tutoring, academic support, services and hospitality, administration, marketing and internal communications, fundraising, and landscaping and construction.
Education employment has become less stable, and real wages and benefits have dropped, even as more women and people of color have joined the ranks of college and university workers. Increasing reliance on contingent labor means jobs do not allow people to meet their basic needs, have benefits, and plan for life after work. In addition, the downward shift leads to reduced production of knowledge, mentoring of students, academic supports, and critical thinking and media literacy required for a robust democracy.
A primary driving force in the student debt crisis is people borrowing to pay for credentials that they hope will help secure them a job with a livable wage. The race away from bad jobs forces people to turn to student debt and predatory institutions like for-profit colleges. Legislation that provides good jobs for all allows people to rely less on debt to fund their education and their livelihoods.
We believe stable employment with full-time positions across departments and units, including those that do not produce a high return on investment, is required to achieve these goals, as is ensuring the right of all employees to organize and bargain collectively. Higher education is an economic, educational, and social anchor for U.S. society and international innovation and requires higher pay, benefits, and better job security to maintain this role. The Federal Job Guarantee is an important step in the goal of protecting and reinvigorating higher education in the US.