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Yale Now Has More Administrators Than Undergrads Thanks To A Mammoth Bureaucracy


The number of administrators at Yale has increased faster than its undergraduate population, with its bureaucracy now bigger than its body of undergrads.


The number of administrators at Yale University has increased drastically faster than its undergraduate population, with the Ivy nearing an abysmal ratio of 1:1 before the pandemic due to its more than 5,000 administrators and managers and fewer than 6,000 undergraduates, according to financial reports from the 2002-2003 and 2020-2021 school years. Now the numbers are even worse, with more than one administrator per undergraduate student.

As evidenced by the financial report from 2002-2003, Yale employed 3,500 administrators and managers while there were 5,307 undergraduate students enrolled at the university. Less than two decades later in 2019, before the pandemic affected enrollment, Yale employed more than 1,500 additional administrators while the undergraduate population had only risen by 600 students. Now undergraduate enrollment has dipped to 4,703, with more than 5,000 “managerial and professional staff.”

As a result of this seismic increase in administrators and managers, Yale has the highest manager-to-student ratio out of the Ivy League schools and the fifth-highest among four-year private nonprofits according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

While some point out that this increase is due in part to the hiring of clinical staff for the Yale School of Medicine, several different faculty members decried the jump in the number of administrators, telling Yale Daily News that academic bureaucracy expansion has been harmful to students and faculty and has also been unnecessarily burdensome and expensive. 

John Gaddis, a professor of history at Yale, contended that this growth in administration “reflects a reluctance on the part of its leadership to lead,” while professor of sociology Nicholas Christakis noted that the ballooning of an administration “can often come at the expense of advancing our primary mission.”

The founder and executive director of Yale’s William F. Buckley Jr. program was also critical of the number of administrators, pointing out that there are more administrators than faculty members. 

Meanwhile, professor of English Leslie Brisman made light of the situation, remarking, “I think we don’t yet have a Vice President for the rights of the left-handed, but I haven’t checked this month,” before adding, “I think that if there weren’t so many people interfering with students’ lives … and faculty choices … there would be plenty of funds for more real teaching and research positions.”

While some have suggested that burdensome government regulations have forced institutions such as Yale to hire an increasing number of administrators in order to ensure compliance, professor of law at the University of Colorado Paul Campos told the Yale Daily News that these burdensome regulations are “overblown.” Campos reportedly “suggested that the main driver has been the desire of administrators to accumulate power and influence within their institutions.”