GMU: Money Where Your Mouth Is?

Take a look at to see why tuition at George Mason University is so high.

Salaries paid to university employees are a matter of public record, and therefore a simple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request gets all sorts of data about who gets paid what. The people running that site do that every semester and post it for all to see.

Public record. I love it.

There are several search mechanisms, and so I thought I’d run a search of the highest 300 just to see what came up. I was appalled.

Alan Merten, the University president who presided over some of the most drastic tuition hikes in the school’s history, rakes in $315,952 of our dollars every year. He’s followed by Grady Mark, Dean of the GMU law school, who takes $288,660 from us. And so on.

In fact, I kept scrolling down the list. The 50th highest salary in the school belongs to a computer science professor who makes $144,557 of our tuition dollars.

In the 100th position is the acting dean of the College of Nursing and Health Science, taking in $124,745.

In 150th, a nursing professor making $113,580.

In 200th, a research scientist with the Center for Earth Observation getting $103,744.

In fact, a full 233 professors, fellows, deans, presidents, provosts, and so forth at George Mason University are making salaries with six numbers in them before the decimal point—at a PUBLIC UNIVERSITY which is supposed to exist primarily to educate the public, rather than to turn a tidy profit.

So tell me again why tuition is twice as high this year as it was in 2000 for in-state undergrads. Tell me again why class sizes have grown and why services have been cut. Tell me again why every damned thing we do comes with some sort of fee attached to it.

Perhaps if some of those 233 GMU employees would accept a more reasonable salary, the burden could be eased a bit on the PAYING CUSTOMERS. Close to 10 percent of the school’s employees are making six figure salaries. Something is wrong, and the answer is not higher tuition.

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.