As budgets are cut and tenured faculty decline, presidents rake it in

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Thursday, July 3, 2014

A report just issued by the Institute for Policy Studies indicates that economic inequality is growing in American higher education. Surveying public universities, the report finds that income for the 25 highest-paid presidents increased by a third between fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2012, bringing their average total compensation to nearly a million dollars. Also, the number of these chief executives earning over a million dollars in 2012 more than doubled over the previous year. In 2013, the best-paid among them was E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University, who raked in $6,057,615.

The lucrative nature of these positions appears to have had little to do with the intellectual distinction of the universities. For example, in 2013, the second most lavishly-rewarded public university president (paid $1,636,274) headed up Texas A&M University and the eighth (paid $1,072,121) headed up the University of South Alabama, two institutions that are not usually considered the acme of intellectual achievement. By contrast, the presidents of some of the nation’s most respected public universities―the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of California-Berkeley, UCLA and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst―received total annual compensation that ranged from $400,664–$467,699. [Editor’s Note: UGA President Jere Morehead's pay package includes $434,500 in base salary, $100,000 in deferred compensation, a $15,500 yearly allowance, a free car from the UGA Foundation and free lodging at the UGA President's House on Prince Avenue in Athens.]

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