Fortune magazine reports on a little-discussed aspect of college affordability:
Pay packages at the top. While students languish in debt, many university presidents enjoy lofty paychecks. Since 1991, salaries of university presidents at public and private universities have roughly doubled, says Andrew Hacker, co-author of Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids – and What We can Do About It. At public universities, the median compensation for presidents was $375,442 in 2009-2010, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s latest figures. The top 10 highest paid boasted compensation ranging from $1.8 million to $728,350, with Ohio State University president E. Gordon Gee at the top, followed by former University of Washington president Mark Emmert with $904,004 (he’s now president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association), Francisco Cigarroa of the University of Texas System with $813,892 and John Hitt of the University of Central Florida with $800,703. That’s way more than what many of today’s most high-profile public servants earn. …What’s most striking about the nation’s highest paid university presidents is that they boast compensation packages exceeding even President Obama’s 2010 annual salary of $395,188.
As students shop for schools and consider the price they—and taxpayers—will have to pay, it’s worth asking what highly-paid administrators are doing for them.