Trustees | Costs

Colleges must cut presidential pay

BOSTON GLOBE   |  November 30, 2013

A GILDED goodbye for many private college leaders” (Page A1, Nov. 17) highlights the lavish compensation received by college presidents upon stepping down. Sadly, such practices are common nationwide. For example, the Ohio State University’s former president was given a five-year farewell package valued at $5.8 million.

These generous packages often follow years of conspicuously high executive pay. In 2010, presidents at 36 private colleges received over $1 million a year in total compensation. And executive compensation continues to rise, despite hard economic times and questionable management practices. Why should presidential salaries rise while faculty salaries stagnate and tuition increases far above inflation?

At many institutions, administrative spending is rising faster than instructional spending, in part because top administrators are so highly compensated. These misplaced priorities have a very real effect on students. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni has shown that, when colleges reduce administrative costs, they can hold down tuition without sacrificing quality.

Trustees have the responsibility to identify and curtail administrative costs. The families facing skyrocketing tuition have to make tough decisions about their finances. There is no reason college trustees and top administrators should not be doing the same thing.


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