One of the airlines St. Cloud is believed to have talked with about providing air service is American Eagle. Last week, Eagle announced that it was offering a $5,000 signing bonus to newly hired pilots:

In an email to prospective job seekers on Friday, American Eagle Airlines announced that it is offering a $5,000 signing bonus for newly hired pilots. At present, Eagle plans to hire 600 new pilots in 2013. New FAA rules require that new airline pilots meet Airline Transport Pilot license standards.

American Eagle notes that American Airlines, its parent company, is planning to hire 2,500 pilots over the next five years. Approximately half of the current list of Eagle pilots is expected to be hired by American or other major airlines.

The $5,000 bonus is paid at the beginning of training and requires a two year commitment to Eagle. According to Airline Pilot Central, American Eagle’s first year pay is $25 per hour with a 75 hour reserve guarantee. This works out to about $22,500 for the first year, not including the bonus. Pay is relatively flat for turboprop first officers, but FOs on jets, the majority of the fleet, will see an increase to $34 per hour and about $30,600 annually for the second year. Currently, the most junior captain has a hire date of May 2006, but as the major airlines ramp up their hiring, upgrades could potentially move much faster.

This is noteworthy because airlines rarely offer signing bonuses to new pilots. In years past, there’s been an oversupply of pilots. The only time hiring bonuses make sense is when the demand for pilots is significantly higher than the supply of pilots.

That calls into question the wisdom of President Potter’s decision to shut SCSU’s Aviation Department. At a time when resources to universities are scarce and high-paying careers aren’t exactly at all-time highs, why is President Potter insisting on shutting down a program that’s capable of becoming a career factory?

That’s like a company stopping manufacturing of a popular product. If a company’s mid-level management team decided to stop manufacturing a popular product whose demand is increasing, the CEO would be justified in firing that mid-level management team on the spot.

Why should Minnesota’s taxpayers expect anything less of a return on their investment? To have the taxpayers’ money misspent the way that SCSU is misspending their money is disgusting.

This shouldn’t just be hung around President Potter’s neck either. It’s time that Chancellor Rosenstone be held accountable for this stupidity, too. If he’s sitting by while decisions are being mishandled, then he’s to blame, too.

Simply put, Minnesota’s taxpayers deserve better leadership than what they’re getting from President Potter and Chancellor Rosenstone.

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6 Responses to “MnSCU, SCSU and a culture of unaccountability”

  • Jethro says:

    According to this website, trustees represent different congressional districts. Don’t they have town hall meetings to represent constituents?

  • Kurtis Goldenstein says:

    I am not affiliated with MnSCU in any way so I don’t have an axe to grind. I read you blog. Your “argument”, if we can call it that, is not at all persuasive. If it is to be persuasive you need to provide additional data. a) how much did it cost SCSU, and therefore the tax payers, to maintain the program? b) how many jobs are available or likely to be available. Until you have at least those two data points you can’t claim it’s a “stupid decision.”

  • Gary Gross says:

    Mr. Goldenstein, This isn’t meant as a criticism of you but I need to highlight some things that you brought up. In past writings, I’ve highlighted the fact that the Aviation program was exceptionally inexpensive. The professors’ salaries for the 2010-11 school year was a combined $275,500. That’s a pittance to what it costs for Chemistry or Biology.

    I’ve written about how SCSU didn’t think twice about eliminating the Masters Degree program for Social Responsibility. In 2010-2011, there were 31 students enrolled in that program. According to SCSU’s official reports, 17 professors taught that program. Their combined salaries came to $1,218,000. A graduate from the Social Responsibility program, again according to SCSU’s information, would be qualified to become “a government worker or a community organizer.”

    Further, students paid for their flight lessons. Student fees paid for the purchase of flight simulators.

    Had you been reading this blog since the summer of 2011, you would’ve known these facts. My ‘failure’, if it can be called that, was that I took for granted that people had read my previous articles on the subject.

    As to the number of jobs that are available or likely to be available, the airline industry projects that they’ll need 30,000 new pilots per year for the next 25 years. Shutting down a program when there’s an historic shortage of pilots is stupid that doesn’t require extensive research.

  • Nick says:

    The pilot shortage is already happening as we speak in the Asia-Pacific and Middle-East regions, and soon North America. The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation has an in-depth analysis on this.

  • Jethro says:

    Kurtis might enjoy hot cocoa, a warm fire, and the aviation gospel according to president Potter.
    It’s an old time favorite.

  • walter hanson says:


    I don’t remember you posting before. It seems to me that if you have a guarenteed job market (one of the few that seem to be growing) you don’t cut it out. Now if this program doesn’t seem qualfied to keep going what do you call a program that is qualified. After all you’ve created the impression that you’re qualified.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

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