But really: do what you love
Well here’s some food for thought from PayScale (via The Atlantic). It’s a list of the least valuable universities, by degree. MICA comes in 10th (from the bottom) with a 20-year earning potential of minus $34,200.
If the average MICA graduate faces two decades in which the value of their degree, compared to not going to any college, is -$34,000, then how bad, really, is the adjunct pay there? After all, very many of MICA’s part-time staff are MICA grads. Can the administration not argue that it is already paying an above-market rate?*
Let’s go to the math.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics the typical American high school grad in 2011 earned $29,950. To keep it simple** we’ll just multiply it by 20 (that’s $599,000), subtract $34,200 and divide again by 20 to arrive at a rough estimate of the typical MICA grad’s expected annual earnings.
If over two semesters a MICA adjunct gets to teach the maximum-allowed four studio classes at the typical pay—$3,500—she will make $14,000.
Now, this is just part-time pay, of course. One can’t very well compare it to the full time wage depicted by Payscale. Broken down to hours, adjuncting at MICA can reasonably be said to earn $17.28 an hour.***
The comparable high school grad working 35 hours for 50 weeks is making a mere $16.14. A whole $1.14 less!
Then again, that full-time high school grad probably gets benefits. . . .