Private college presidents pay was up slightly

Compensation for private college presidents has continued to drift upward, while the number crossing the $1 million barrier — a signal of prestige, and a magnet for criticism — held steady at 36, according to a new survey.

The latest annual compilation by The Chronicle of Higher Education covers data from 2010, due to lag time in the release of federal tax information. That year, median compensation for the 494 presidents in the survey — leaders of institutions with budgets of at least $50 million — was $396,649, or 2.8 percent higher than in last year’s survey. But median base salary fell slightly, by less than 1 percent.

The highest paid was Bob Kerrey, who was president of The New School in New York until December, 2010 before returning to Nebraska, where he made an unsuccessful run to return to the U.S Senate. Kerrey’s total compensation over more than $3 million. His base salary was just over $600,000, but he received a $1.2 million retention bonus and more than $620,000 in deferred compensation.

It is common for such payments to inflate compensation for presidents in their final year in a position. Three presidents in 2010’s top 10 are no longer at those institutions: Kerrey, David Pollick of Birmingham-Southern College, and Steven Sample of the University of Southern California.

The highest-paid in 2010 who remains on the job is Shirley Ann Jackson of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, who was No. 2 at $2.34 million, followed by Pollick, at $2.31 million. The highest base salary belonged to John Sexton of New York University and totaled $1.24 million out of $1.48 million total compensation.

The Chronicle has previously compiled salary data for the presidents of public institutions, which was available for 2011. Those figures showed three public university presidents earned more than $1 million in 2011, led by Gordon Gee of Ohio State with total compensation of just under $2 million.

Then there’s the other end of the scale — presidents of roughly two dozen Roman Catholic institutions including Villanova University, Boston College, Marquette and a number of smaller schools, whose compensation is zero. All are either clergy or members of religious orders.

The Chronicle reports this year that half the institutions that employed the 50 highest-paid college presidents in 2010 used a practice called “grossing up,” adding additional cash and benefits to compensation packages to make up for the taxes recipients pay. The practice has been largely abandoned at publicly traded companies due to shareholder criticism, but appears alive and well in the non-profit sector.

More in Local News

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Cool additions at an elementary school in Everett

A totem pole and new gardens grace the courtyard of Whittier Elementary School.

Kids suspected in school’s smashed windows and other damage

The cost of the damage at Explorer Middle School in south Everett is estimated to be $5,000.

Recall issued for about 1,250 pounds of meat

Camano Island’s Sausage Haus products might be contaminated.

3 women seek open seat in 39th District

The GOP nominees hope to fill the opening created by the resignation of Republican John Koster.

Lake Stevens High senior has an entrepreneurial mind

John Cramer crafts and sells designer pens to help pay for college

Marysville-Arlington fiber-optic link planned by Comcast

The high-speed internet line, to be ready next year, is seen as a boost for business development.

Front Porch

EVENTS Health fairs A Senior Healthy Living Fair is set for noon… Continue reading

Cellphone carrier substation in Snohomish vandalized

Detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a… Continue reading

Most Read