Average pay for presidents at private colleges and universities rose 2.5 percent to nearly $400,000 in the 2012 fiscal year, with 36 campus leaders topping the $1-million mark, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. Shirley Ann Jackson of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was the highest-paid president, earning $7.1-million, nearly $5.9-million of it in compensation deferred over the past decade as a retention incentive.
Such deferred payments—a common tool for keeping college leaders, who forfeit the money if they resign before a specified date—figured in many of the top 2012 paychecks. The second-highest earner, John L. Lahey of Quinnipiac University, made close to $3.8-million in 2012, including $2.8-million set aside in previous years.
The annual Chronicle salary review covers wage data, as reported on tax forms, from 500 private institutions with the largest endowments. The newspaper changed its methodology for this year's study, counting only the amount actually received by a president in the year in question and discounting money set aside by schools for pay in future years.