Special Reports

College And University Presidents Among The Top Earners In The Nation


College and university presidents are some of the nation's top earners. It is believed that the compensation of some of these leaders come from sources other than state taxes or student tuition.

The Daily Progress reported that Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael P. Rao nabbed the top spot in the annual salary database for state employees. The data was published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Leaders of five other Virginia higher education institutions: Christopher Newport University, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Mason University and Virginia Military Institute, were also part of the top 10 list. The database represents a snapshot of state employee compensation as of Apr. 1, 2016.

It also reflects total compensation. This is because of concerns on the $450,000 compensation package awarded to a former state senator who led a higher education center.

"It's just my sense that public higher education has gotten out of whack in terms of rewarding not only the presidents but high administrators at levels that are extraordinary in comparison with the rank and file," Robert D. Holsworth, a member of the VCU Board of Visitors, said. He revealed that he routinely votes against incentive pay for Rao as well as other top university officials.

According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Washington University's Mark Wrighton is one of the top earners among private college leaders in the nation. He earned almost $4.2 million during the 2014-2015 school year.

Wrighton was the second highest earner. Jack Versalona, president of Wilmington University in Delaware, nabbed the top spot with $5.4 million.

Both top earners got the highest percentage of their pay from other sources such as retirement pay. It was revealed that Wrighton's base salary is $943,583. The publication also noted that, if Wrighton was ranked on base pay alone, he would be on the same ranks as the leaders of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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