Community colleges offer generous benefits

Associate degree-granting institutions have some of the most generous retirement benefits in comparison to doctoral, master’s or baccalaureate institutions, according to a new report from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR).

The 403(b) plan is the most popular retirement plan for both public and private higher education institutions, the report says. Ninety-five percent of public institutions and 92 percent of private institutions offer a 403(b) plan. The median maximum employer contribution is 8 percent of an employee’s salary, though associate degree-granting institutions have a median employer contribution of 9.5 percent.

Only 4 percent of associate-degree institutions charge record-keeping fees for retirement plans, while, overall, 44 percent of institutions charge record-keeping fees. Private institutions charge higher fees than public institutions.

More parental leave

Among other findings from the CUPA-HR benefits report:

  • About one-third of the institutions surveyed offer paid parental leave beyond vacation and sick time. Since 2018, the number of institutions offering paid parental leave for all types of new parents has increased by about 9 percentage points.
  • More than half of the institutions surveyed (57 percent) offer some form of short-term disability leave. Short-term disability leave is more common at private institutions than at public institutions.
  • Paid-time-off (PTO) plans that separate sick and vacation leave offer more PTO and higher PTO accrual limits than plans that combine sick and vacation leave.
  • Nearly all institutions (98 percent) offer tuition benefits to full-time employees, and most institutions also offer tuition benefits to full-time employees’ spouses (87 percent) and children (91 percent).
  • A smaller percentage of institutions offer these benefits to domestic partners, and these benefits are more commonly provided to same-sex domestic partners than to opposite-sex domestic partners.

A total of 419 colleges and universities completed the survey, including 47 associate degree-granting institutions.

The data was collected before the COVID-19 pandemic, so the results offer a baseline to gauge changes to benefits that might be made next year as a result of budget cuts in the wake of the pandemic.

About the Author

Ellie Ashford
is associate editor of Community College Daily.