Why we make the Salary Guide


By Lillian Barkley, Editor-in-Chief

The Salary Guide is the most consistently visited area of The Daily Illini website. We receive emails throughout the year asking when the updated guide will be available. It’s clear to us that the community is interested in the financial impact of the University, and for good reason.

After the statewide budget impasse and the launch of one of the most ambitious fundraising campaigns in University history, it’s vital that an aspect of the University’s spending is widely available to the public.

In the interest of transparency, we request and publish the salaries of Gray Book and non-Gray Book employees of the University every year.

The Gray Book is also known as the Academic and Administrative Appointments supplement and is approved annually by the Board of Trustees. It typically contains the highest-paid employees. The non-Gray Book includes employees who are civil service staff, academic professional staff and additional faculty who do not appear in the Gray Book.

Employees who are classified as extra help, graduate assistant, pre-doctoral fellow, academic or grad hourly, summer appointment, medical resident, student retiree or unpaid will not be included in the salary data. Any jobs classified as cellphone stipend, deferred pay, lump sum, one-time pay, sabbatical supplement, temporary assignment or various payouts are also not included.

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The Salary Guide does not include changes to salaries such as mid-year promotions, unpaid leaves or overtime and other benefits. There are many different factors that go into salaries – experience, training and tenure – that are not outlined in the information from the University. Only the raw numbers are included.

The ability to obtain this information is not available to every university – the University of Illinois system is public, which allows anyone to submit a Freedom of Information Act request for the salaries.

Though some may think that publishing every employee’s salary is an invasive process, we hope it will keep the University and its employees accountable. This is why we publish comparisons of different salaries, list the top-earning employees and give insight into why people earn what they do.

The University is still balancing its improvements – such as the new College of Medicine faculty – with interim faculty and an athletics program that seems to constantly change.

With that in mind, it may be unsurprising to see who at the University has the highest salary. It’s most eye-opening to compare the highest salaries with those of a professor, a secretary or even a vice chancellor.

We hope the community will use this as a resource by checking salaries of those they work with. Students can see how much their favorite (or least favorite) professor is paid. Employees can compare with their coworkers, and taxpayers can see where their money is going.

From its start, the Salary Guide was meant to hold those at the University accountable, and this year’s guide should continue to help the community become more aware of the University’s impact.

The entirety of the Salary Guide can be found on The Daily Illini’s website. To find the full list of salaries online in our database, visit salaryguide.dailyillini.com.