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article imageOp-Ed: U.S. university presidents; deferred reality

By Larry Clifton     Jun 13, 2012 in Lifestyle
Student loan debt in the U.S. has exploded - a whopping $1 trillion in 2012. At the same time, university tuition rates are increasing rapidly and the value of a college education during a stagnant economy is being called into question.
So why are so many university presidents wearing wide grins in their school photos? Insight into the life of luxury enjoyed by some of these tenured tutors might hold some clues.
Take E. Gordon Gee, President of Ohio State University. The generous taxpayers of Ohio are affording Gee, the bow-tie wearing schoolmaster for the Buckeyes, a cool $814,157 base salary. But wait, let’s do some addition. Gee has an available bonus of $296,786 (plus $881, 278 set aside for “deferred compensation). Not bad for government work. But there’s more, lots more. Gee is compensated for car and housing expenses and receives a $50,400 pension contribution from the state or university for a total of $1,992,221. Cool school, right?
There does seem to be a bit of a gender gap in university president pay, though. For example, Mary Sue Coleman, President of the University of Michigan, must settle for a paltry $845,105 total compensation, according to The Fiscal Times. Her salary of $570,105 seems so…unfair when juxtaposed to Gee’s haul. Coleman gets $100,000 bonus and the generous state of University of Michigan, where in-state tuition and fees per student is $12,590 per student, sets aside $175,000 for deferred compensation. Of course Coleman receives house and car perks and a $24,500 pension contribution. My how these public servants sacrifice for students - makes one misty-eyed.
If you aren’t bawling yet, imagine having to scrape by on a base salary of $420,240 a year. That’s what is expected of Texas Tech University President Kent R. Hance. Of course there is a $150,000 bonus if the prez doesn’t play hooky too much plus a sweet $187,000 set aside as deferred compensation – whatever that means. Hance sticks another $24,000 in his pants for car allowance and receives $36,461 in pension contribution.
The generous state of Texas has more than one highly-compensated school administrator on the payroll. They have many, for example, there’s Francisco G. Cigarroa, with a compensation package of $751,680. Now poor old Mr. Cigarroa doesn’t get a bonus, per say, but the school/state does pump a cool $63,893 into his pension fund each year. Not bad for a taxpayer-funded parachute.
Rounding out five examples of well-funded university presidents is John C. Hitt, University of Central Florida, at $741,500.
This poor guy has to drag himself out of bed for a relative pittance consisting of $463,500 in salary, $185,300 in bonus pay, car and house perks and $37,435 in pension contributions.
The good news is that Hitt has been hitting his tenure since 1992 and that is a lot of money owed him in pension contributions. Might have to jack up those tuition rates again in Florida. Education is an expensive endeavor, for students and taxpayers – don't get me started on university football coaches’ pay.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about university president pay, Ohio state buckeyes, university of michigan, Texas Tech, university of central florida
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