Here’s some good news: an Illinois college is going to offer some adjuncts health insurance next year under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Most schools seem to be busily cutting hours in order to avoid the new law’s requirements. (The ACA requires that schools provide health insurance for full-time employees, defined as anyone working more than 30 hours a week.) The bad news is that the proposal is more hat than cattle.
Robert Breuder, president of DuPage, said the arrangement was a “perfect compromise,” one that allows the college to comply with the law, honor the adjuncts who make up the majority of its teaching force and still retain the cost-effectiveness and flexibility of a majority-adjunct work force. He estimated that the move would cost the college about $550,000 annually, or 0.3 percent of its operating budget, made possible by prudent college management during the past five years. But extending health care to more adjuncts would be financially “cataclysmic” to the institution, he said, particularly due to Illinois’s fiscal woes and consequent decreases in state funding. Breuder said he didn’t know how many adjuncts’ typical course loads would be cut by the new, 27-credit-hour ceiling for non-lecturers, but that the college has been trending toward hiring more adjuncts to teach lighter course loads for some time.
“Bucking the Trend” Colleen Flaherty
This coverage will “honor” 45 adjuncts. Du Paul could provide health care for 90 adjuncts for less than 1% of its budget (.9%); or 180 for less than 2% (1.8%), and so on. These hardly seem like cataclysmic figures, even in the face of our state’s budget problems. I’m happy that some adjuncts’ working conditions are improving, but this is a “compromise” that is all about looking good while skirting the law so that you can continue to exploit college teachers.