At a time when student debt exceeds $1 trillion and the value of a college education is being questioned, one might think that the men and women who run these pricy institutions would look within themselves (and their own paychecks) for solutions.
PHOTO GALLERY: 10 Insanely Overpaid Public College Presidents
Sadly, for the most part they haven’t. President pay at state colleges has continued to increase along with tuition, despite budget cuts at many universities across the country. In 2010-11, median compensation for public college presidents jumped about 3 percent from the previous year to $421,395, according to a recent analysis of 190 institutions by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Most public college presidents also enjoy generous perks. One president who was recently hired, Robert Caret at the University of Massachusetts, will be able to take a yearlong sabbatical when he steps down at full salary (currently $425,000 a year with raises of $25,000 for the next two years) if he stays at least five years. He also receives a $60,000 housing allowance, a $63,750 retirement annuity, an annual performance bonus of up to 15 percent of his salary, and $250,000 in deferred compensation set aside over the next three years. If he’s fired, he’ll still receive the remainder of his salary for the year, the right to become a full-time faculty member (albeit at a reduced salary), and still take any sabbaticals he’s earned.
Conveniently, he was hired seven months after the university approved a 7.5 percent hike in student tuition and fees to help close the school’s $54 million budget gap.
Click here to see the 10 highest-paid public college presidents in the country, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.