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Stats Watch

Campus Compenstation Packages

University Business, May 2013

Does being an executive-level higher ed administrator “pay off” in perks? Presidents and chancellors, at least, may well think it does.

For the first time, administrators responding to CUPA-HR’s annual “Administrators in Higher Education Salary Survey” were asked if they received any of five “executive-only” benefits—housing, car/car allowance, club membership, deferred compensation program, and performance-based incentive opportunities.

Of the 55,017 responders spanning 191 director-level and above positions from 1,251 colleges and universities, the top campus leaders (with president, chancellor, or CEO title) are most commonly receiving such benefits for the 2012-2013 academic year. Housing and cars/car allowances were the most widely offered perks to this group. Though the percentages were low overall, the other responders who reported receiving these benefits included executive vice presidents/vice chancellors, chief academic affairs officers/provost, chief business officers, chief athletic administrators, and chief developments/advancement officers. For those positions, performance-based incentive opportunities were most common. A number of chief development officers also received cars/car allowances and/or club memberships.

“For many higher education executives, the benefits received beyond the base salary are important elements of total compensation,” says CUPA-HR President and CEO Andy Brantley. “We requested this information to help us provide more comprehensive data for campuses to use to evaluate the competitiveness of the salary and benefits offered for key leadership positions.”

Brantley stresses that offering competitive packages to recruit and retain exceptional leaders is important to the success of an institution—even though “there will always be a debate regarding whether or not campus leaders in executive management roles should receive benefits that are different from those of other employees.”