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University Presidents Get Richer, Students Pay More

There are now four university presidents making over $1 million per year. Meanwhile, tuition costs continue to rise.


The Chronicle of Higher Education just released a report outlining the salaries of the top-earning university executives across the country. And guys, we did it! There are now four presidents—well three, actually—making over a million dollars per year. I say "three" because the top-earning university president was Graham Spanier, who was fired as a result of a widespread, multi-year sexual abuse scandal at Penn State. His compensation, though, was pretty nice.

The top 10:

01. Graham B. Spanier, Free Agent, $2,906,271

02. Jay Gogue, Auburn University, $2,542,865

03. E. Gordon Gee, Ohio State University, Main Campus, $1,899,420

04. Alan G. Merten, George Mason University, $1,869,369

05. Jo Ann M. Gora, Ball State University, $984,647

06. Mary Sue Coleman, University of Michigan system, $918,783

07. Charles W. Steger, Virginia Tech, $857,749

08. Mark G. Yudof, University of California system, $847,149

09. J. Bernard Machen, University of Florida, $834,562

10. Francisco G. Cigarroa, University of Texas system, $815,833

Most—if not all—of these people make less money than the school's basketball or football coach, which is a different conversation for another day. The salaries, though, are in-line with tuition costs. As in: they're both (mostly) going up! Salary packages of university executives increased by about five percent over the past year, according to The Chronicle, while tuition continues to rise. From the National Center for Education Statistics, this is how much it costs to go to the schools with the highest-paid presidents:

• Penn State (State College): $31,854 for in-state (2.7 percent increase from last year), $44,156 for out-of state (2.5 percent increase from last year)

• Auburn: $23,788 (6.4 percent), $39,532 (7.1 percent)

• Ohio State: $24,919 (7.3 percent decrease), $40,327 (3.4 percent decrease)

• George Mason: $24,632 (6.1 percent), $42,776 (5.1 percent)

• Ball State: $21,490 (3.5 percent), $36,160 (4.1 percent)

• Michigan (Ann Arbor): $25,848 (2.6 percent), $51,976 (3.2 percent)

• Virginia Tech: $25,513 (6.9 percent), $40,505 (7.0 percent)

• California (Berkeley: $32,888 (0.8 percent), $55,766 (0.5 percent)

• Florida: $20,013 (3.9 percent), $42,290 (1.8 percent)

• Texas (Austin): $25,392 (2.7 percent), $48,730 (2.7 percent)