179 College Presidents Earn More than the U.S. President

An employee at a money changer counts USD 100 bills in Manila on October 25, 2012. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS
AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS

New data reveals that 179 university and college presidents around the country earn more annually than the President of the United States.

According to data compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education, 179 university presidents, many of them at public state schools, make more than the President of the United States. The President of the United States, who earns $400,000 annually, makes only half as much as 40 public university presidents. For example, William McRaven, the president of the University of Texas System, earns over $2.5 million in total compensation each year.

The data, which was highlighted this week by Campus Reform, has sparked mixed reactions. Lauren Hackett, a student at Belmont University, defended high compensation for leaders of private colleges.

“I think private colleges should be allowed to pay whatever they want as they are private institutions,” Hackett said. “However, public institutions receive government support to make education affordable, so therefore overpaying public university administrators is an unfair burden on students and taxpayers.”

Breitbart News reported earlier this month that 199 of the top 200 highest-paid public employees in the state of Arizona work in higher education. In July, Breitbart News also reported that 80 percent of the state’s top public earners worked at an institution of higher learning.

Others, unlike Hackett, believe that high salaries for university presidents are justified. Laura Osberger, a spokeswoman for the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, defended huge compensation packages for university leaders.

“College presidents manage multi-million and sometimes billion-dollar enterprises that affect the lives of thousands of people. Thus, college and university compensation is a factor of a competitive market and complex work. In Virginia, the Boards of Visitors of our public higher education institutions negotiate the compensation packages of presidents,” Osberger said at the time.

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