AP Education Writer
(AP) – 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.
Follow Justin Pope at
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns