Tuition rates are on a determined rise at universities across the US—and so are the paychecks of their presidents.
The median salary of a private college president in 2013 was $436,429, a 5% increase from 2012, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s latest annual report on executive compensation, which pulls data from the most up-to-date federal tax filings. At public colleges, presidential compensation rose 7%.
The findings, published Dec. 6, also revealed that more than 32 public and private college presidents—out of over 500 examined—made $1 million or more in 2013.
Columbia University’s Lee Bollinger, the longest-serving president of an Ivy League university, netted $4.6 million in base pay, incentive payments, and other compensation (including $1.26 million in deferred payments, a form of compensation awarded to presidents when they stay on at a school long enough). Following close behind: the University of Pennsylvania’s Amy Gutmann, who made $3 million from salary and bonuses.
There are some surprises on the highest paid list—like High Point University’s Nido Qubein, who governs a little-known liberal arts campus with a $42 million endowment. (For comparison, Columbia’s endowment is $9.2 billion). Leaders at High Point and several other high-paying colleges told the Chronicle that their presidents’ salaries are a reflection of institutional ambitions.
Even so, the rise in presidential pay comes at a time when schools are being urged to keep costs down and temper the alarming swell of student debt around the country. The Chronicle’s analysis found that some college presidents make as much as 97 times the cost of a student’s tuition.
Here’s the full list of schools with presidents earning $1 million or more: