You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe



Reaching an inflection point with college presidential pay?

There were signs in the recently released Chronicle of Higher Education report on college and university presidents’ paychecks that higher education is gaining a sense of limits. From 2010 to 2011, the total compensation for the chiefs of nonprofit higher-ed institutions edged up only 3.2 percent. But there were also signs of the old profligacy. The number of presidents collecting more than $1 million rose by 17 percent, to 42. And 2011 was a tough economic year, when median household income dropped and average student debt soared toward $30,000; one could argue that presidential compensation should have dropped as well. Next year’s survey will tell whether universities are serious about putting the brakes on presidential pay hikes.

Two of the nation’s five highest-compensated presidents were Northeastern’s Joseph Aoun, at $3.1 million, and former Tufts president Lawrence Bacow, at $2.2 million. Also in the million-dollar club were the presidents of Amherst College, Boston University, Brown University, and MIT. Northeastern rightly extolled the university’s across-the-board improvements under Aoun, whose salary included an as-yet-unpaid retirement bonus, while Tufts and Amherst pointed out that their payouts included lump-sum benefits to retiring chiefs.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week