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For the first time since the recession, pay increases for professional staff members at public colleges and universities are on par with their private college counterparts.

According to by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, the median base salary for colleges nationwide rose 2.1 percent this school year.

It marks the first time since the 2009-10 school year that pay raises at public institutions matched those of private ones.

It's also a slightly greater pay increase than the year before, when salaries at higher education institutions nationwide climbed 2 percent.

Meanwhile, administrator salaries climbed 2.5 this school year, according to the report.

The association's pay raise data comes after public funding cuts during the recession heavily impacted public colleges and universities.

Alabama ranked , slashing more than 6 million, some 28 percent, from the state's higher education budget between 2008 and 2012, according to the Grapevine project at Illinois State University.

Since fiscal 2012, the state has increased funding for four-year public colleges by 13 percent as of fiscal 2013, according to data from the Alabama Department of Finance Executive Budget Office.

However, tuition at four-year public colleges has climbed 44 percent since the recession -- 3 percent this school year -- to a statewide average of ,143 per year, according to the College Board.

Comparing the increases to Alabama public college salaries was not possible since the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, which maintains salary and wage information for public colleges and universities, has not yet completed work on wage data for the 2013-14 school year.

Additionally, beginning with the 2012-13 school year, the commission began reporting monthly wages instead of annual salaries. A spokeswoman for the commission said the change reflects the fact that not all college professionals work the full school year.

The findings rely on survey responses from 186,668 professionals at public and private colleges across the nation, including the University of Alabama, Auburn University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Jacksonville State University, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the University of Montevallo, the University of South Alabama and the University of North Alabama.

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