University of Chicago president tops national pay chart

Kylie Lacey's picture

The president of the University of Chicago earned $3.4 million in 2011, making him the highest-paid private university president in the country that year, according to a survey released Sunday.

The Chronicle of Higher Education's annual study, which uses data from federal tax documents, found that Robert Zimmer was among 42 private college presidents earning more than $1 million in total compensation.

Zimmer's compensation in 2011 breaks down like this: $918,000 in base salary; $200,000 in bonus pay; $454,800 in deferred compensation to be paid at a later date; $147,452 in nontaxable benefits; and $1.6 million in other earnings, which includes $1.3 million that had been set aside for him in previous years.

Deferred compensation has become a typical perk in university presidents' contracts, given as an incentive for leaders to remain at an institution. The money is invested tax-free until it's paid.

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