Students face soaring tuition costs, mountains of loan debt, and horrific job prospects, but meanwhile – many presidents of nonprofit private colleges across the nation rake in huge salary and benefits packages.
The top ten highest-paid private university presidents in the country each enjoy seven-figure incomes, making anywhere from $1.6 million to $3.4 million in salary and benefits, according to a survey conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education released Sunday.
No. 1 on the list is University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer, who earned $3,358,723 in salary and benefits in 2011.
The survey chronicled the compensation of 550 chief executives at private nonprofit colleges in the nation during the 2011 calendar year. Compensation included salaries plus benefits such as bonuses, employer contributions to retirement plans, deferred compensation, health insurance, housing and car stipends and other perks.
These cushy salaries come as higher education is often likened to a house of cards on the verge of collapse, a.k.a. the college bubble: the rising cost of tuition greatly outpacing inflation; the growing irrelevancy of a liberal arts degree; ballooning student loan debt; and skyrocketing unemployment for college grads.
“The trend is not a healthy one,” Patrick Callan, president of The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, told the Chicago-Tribune. “It has hurt our public credibility, it has contributed to the cost problem and it has made people more cynical than they used to be. What it is doing is undermining the altruistic mission of higher education. Are we in this to serve the public or are we in it for ourselves?”
Maybe that’s a good question for these guys – here’s the rest of the Top Ten list:
2. Joseph Aoun, Northeastern University: $3,121,864
3. Dennis Murray, Marist College: $2,688,148
4. Lee Bollinger, Columbia University: $2,327,344
5. Lawrence Bacow, Tufts University: $2,223,752
6. Amy Gutmann, University of Pennsylvania: $2,091,764
7. Anthony Catanese, Florida Institute of Technology: $1,884,008
8. Esther Barazzone, Chatham University: $1,812,132
9. Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: $1,752,642
10. Richard Levin, Yale University: $1,652,543
SOURCE: CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION