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Overtime or Endgame? What Obama’s Overtime Rules Could Mean for Faculty and Staff

The Obama administration’s impending changes in overtime rules come with serious challenges for staffing admissions. Many exempt admissions staff earn less than the $47,000 threshold proposed in the rule change, especially at schools in parts of the country with a low cost of living. What will become of the road warrior admission counselor or the reader who logs 70-hour weeks poring over applications? The rule change certainly presents a challenge for budget-constrained colleges and universities, for which there is not an obvious approach to remaining budget neutral while paying overtime during peak periods.

Additionally, converting lower-level admissions staff to hourly workers could put the professionalism of admissions as an occupation at risk. Young, enthusiastic admissions staff benefit from the responsibility and flexibility of a salaried position. An institution can certainly convert lower level admissions positions to hourly status, but that feels like demotion. How can institutions manage the rules change without blowing the budget, psychologically damaging and demoting staff, and de-professionalizing the field?

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