Columbia University's president is the nation's highest paid leader of private institution.
Photograh by Mario Tama—Getty Images
By Claire Zillman
December 7, 2015

Tuition at the nation’s universities isn’t the only dollar figure on campus on the rise.

The pay of private college presidents continue to climb. The Chronicle of Higher Education on Monday found that the heads of private higher ed institutions earned $436,429 on average in 2013, up 5.6% from the previous year. And the typical private-college president’s salary accounted for about half of 1% of his or her school’s overall budget

The analysis is based on the latest available federal-tax filings of 497 private nonprofit colleges with the largest endowments.

The Chronicle surveys public universities separately, and its latest report found that the average pay of a public college leader was just over $428,000 in 2014, an increase of 7% from 2013.

Despite the overall increase in compensative of private college leaders, the number of presidents earning $1 million or more decreased from 36 in 2012 to 32 in 2013, according to Monday’s report. The Chronicle said that is probably due to the fluctuation in deferred payments and one-time payouts.

The highest paid leaders of private colleges in 2013 were Lee Bollinger of Columbia University, who earned $4.6 million, Amy Gutmann of the University of Pennsylvania, who pulled in $3.1 million, and Nido Qubein of High Point University in North Carolina, whose compensation totaled $2.9 million.


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