Rarely am I so shocked by something that I spit out my coffee in disbelief. As I read the NYTimes report of college presidents’ salaries, my poor friend sitting across from me got spritzed with caramel mocha. I then read her this, and she totally understood:
According to the survey, published in Monday’s edition, 23 private college presidents made over $1 million in total compensation, and 110 made more than $500,000. Such large pay packages are still relatively new in higher education: as recently as 2002, there were no million-dollar presidents, only four earning more than $800,000, and 27 earning more than $500,000.
Over all, the Chronicle survey found, the median pay for presidents of the 419 private colleges and universities surveyed was $358,746, a 6.5 percent increase over the previous year. Over the last five years, the median presidential pay, adjusted for inflation, grew by 14 percent.
Why is university presidents’ pay going up so much?
“I think the answer you’d get from the governing boards that set these salaries is that it’s a market and it’s increasingly hard to find these people,” said Jeffrey Selingo, editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education, which has published its compensation survey annually since 1993. “That said, almost every year, presidential salaries have gone up faster than inflation, and faster than tuition, which rankles some people on campus.”
This confuses me. I mean, do presidents even do that much, to be meriting such pay? Check out the graph provided by the Times below:
I now have a new job aspiration.