University Presidents’ Compensation Outweighs Faculty Salaries 17 to 1

17 public universities and 64 private universities issued executive compensation over 1 million USD in 2017, with Pennsylvania State University rising to the top of the public sector and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and University of Pennsylvania’s presidents topping out the private sector. Of the highest-paid public and private university presidents, their compensation was 17 times greater than their faculty salaries on average, with a pay-to-tuition ratio of 96:1 on average. Long tenures account for a large part of the astronomical salaries, as many presidents agree to long-term deferred compensation agreements, which incentivize their continued commitment to their institutions. Critics argue that presidents should be compensated according to performance, not tenure, especially when funds for their salaries could be diverted towards faculty pay, pensions, or financial aid programs.

Highest Executive Compensation at U.S. Colleges 2017

Note: Numbers next to college names (i.e. (12x)) indicate the ratio of executive compensation to average faculty salary. For example, '12x' indicates that the school's executive receives a salary 12 times higher than that of their average faculty member.
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