As student debt rises, perks and high pay for top college officials

Kristen Domonell's picture

A report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York late last month found that student debt in the United States, which is now approaching $1 trillion, "is the only kind of household debt that continued to rise through the Great Recession." According to The Institute for College Access and Success, students in the class of 2011 who borrowed for college graduated with an average of $26,600 in student loan debt.

Meanwhile, dozens of top officials at colleges and universities saw compensation packages in 2010 in excess of $1 million, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. At New York University, the New York Times reported on Monday, top executives have received massive compensation packages upon their departure, including $685,000 to former executive vice president Jacob J. Lew and $1.23 million to former medical center executive Harold S. Koplewicz. Two former presidents of the expensive private university continue to live in apartments owned by N.Y.U., the Times reported, and current president John Sexton will be paid $800,000 per year upon his departure.

In response to that report, requested the most recent 990 tax filings from four prominent universities in the region: Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University and Columbia University. All but Yale provided their tax forms, which suggests that N.Y.U.'s practices are not unique.

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