NEW YORK (MainStreet) — For much of this year, governors in states like Wisconsin and New Jersey have launched feverish debates about the salaries of public employees like teachers, but a new report may turn that spotlight on a new group: presidents of public colleges.
Salaries and compensation for public college presidents averaged a very generous $375,442 in the 2009-2010 school year, an increase of roughly 1% from the previous year, according to data released this week by the Chronicle of Higher Education. In fact, many presidents around the country earned twice that amount or more.
E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, earned a total compensation of $1.3 million, while Francisco Cigarroa and William C. Powers Jr., presidents of the University of Texas and the University of Texas, Austin, respectively, each earned roughly $750,000. And each of the presidents in the top 10 earned more than half a million dollars.
These numbers are even higher if the total cost of employment for these professors (are they really profesors?), meaning additional funds paid for car allowances, tuition assistance, retirement costs and other deferred compensation, are factored in. With this factored in, Gee actually earned close to $2 million for the school year, while Mark Emmert, president of the University of Washington, earned more than $900,000.
As lavish as these salaries may be, they’re still nothing compared to the salaries of those who head up private universities. One report put out by the Chronicle last year found that 30 private university presidents earned at least $1 million in total compensation in the 2008-2009 school year, with some earning a whopping $4 million or more.
But even though private university presidents generally earn more than the heads of public schools, the Chronicle notes that it’s the public university presidents who are particularly susceptible to public outrage, precisely because they work for a state-funded institution at a time when many states are struggling to balance their budgets.