Private college presidents' pay rose 6.5% in 2008
Take a look at the list of the highest paid college presidents:
Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $1,598,247
David J. Sargent, Suffolk University -- $1,496,593
Steadman Upham, University of Tulsa -- $1,428,275
Richard S. Meyers, Webster University -- $1,429,738
It's hard for me to imagine why anyone should get $1,598,247 for running Hartford, CT-based Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Given that school's student body of just 5,394 undergraduates, that works out to nearly $300 per student flowing directly into the pocket of the president. Perhaps that explains the 2009-2010 sticker price of $39,165 -- and the fact that 70% of students graduate with an average of $30,375 in debt -- nearly 50% higher than the national average among college graduates.
Look, I don't doubt that these college presidents provide value to the schools they work at -- mainly in the form of fundraising. But at a time when so many of their students are struggling and debt loads are ballooning, it would be nice to see them take a break from pay increases. Sadly, that didn't happen.
On reason that large colleges -- especially public colleges -- generally offer a good deal is that administrative costs scale well: A school with 10 times as many students will generally have far lower per capita administrative costs.