Almanac of Higher Education 2012

December 04, 2011

How Presidents’ Pay Compares with

2 times professor salary or less 2 to 5 times professor salary 5 to 8 times professor salary 8 times professor salary or more

  • Show All Private Colleges
  • Ivy League
  • Catholic
  • Bachelor’s
  • Master’s
  • Research

This chart omits presidents who served only part of 2009 and presidents at colleges where no data on professor compensation were available.

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About these data

These data show the compensation received in 2009 by 519 chief executives at 482 private, nonprofit colleges in the United States.

The Chronicle compiled compensation data from the Internal Revenue Service’s Form 990, which is filed by most major nonprofit entities. We obtained each institution’s form from the college or from GuideStar, an organization that posts the documents online.

+ More information about the data

Our analysis for 2009 included private colleges that were classified as research, master’s, and baccalaureate institutions by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2010, and had at least $50-million in expenditures in 2009-10. The data exclude colleges that claimed religious exemption from filing the Form 990.

Because of changes in the IRS Form 990 during the 2008-9 tax year, compensation is reported by calendar year, and revenues and expenditures are reported by fiscal year.

At some colleges, more than one president served during 2009. All people who served in the capacity of chief executive were used in the analysis, including interim leaders if they served for at least six months. Sometimes salary data for a new or interim president may include compensation from a previous position at the same college within the same year. Partial-year presidents were excluded from analysis that compared presidential compensation with other variables.

Calculations for 2008 data are based on current methodology and may not match those previously published. Data for 2008 reflect 503 chief executives at 474 colleges.

Data on endowments were obtained from the National Association of College and University Business Officers for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Data on fund raising were obtained from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Data on enrollments (fall 2009) and graduation rates (six-year rate for the 2003 cohort) were obtained from the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Graduation rates were based on first-time, full-time students seeking a bachelor’s degree. Ipeds data were not available for all campuses and were omitted at systems that lack a clear main campus.

Faculty compensation for the 2009-10 fiscal year, which includes the average pay and benefits for full professors except medical-school faculty, was obtained from the American Association of University Professors. Not all colleges report the data to AAUP each year; data for 2009 reflect 380 colleges, and data for 2008 reflect 376 colleges.

Biographical data and information about presidential tenures were obtained from college Web sites, newspaper archives, or university offices.

Megan Arellano, Robert Caldwell, Collin Eaton, Lacey Johnson, Brenda Medina, Armando Montaño, Molly Redden, and Alexandra Rice contributed research.