Dozens of public university presidents make more than the U.S. president: Report

  • More than 40 university presidents make more than double what the U.S. president makes in a single year.
  • Specifically, 179 university presidents make as much or more than the president of the United States.
  • Seventeen of those are public university presidents that make more than $1 million annually.

Dozens of public university presidents make more money in a single year than does the president of the United States, according to a recent report. 

Published by The Chronicle of Higher Education, the report gathered salary data from more than 1,400 university chief executives from both private and public institutions, and ultimately determined that 179 public university presidents make as much or more each year than the leader of the free world, who makes $400,000 annually, although President Donald Trump has not taken a salary during his tenure.

"It is ridiculous that university presidents make more money than the president of the entire country"   

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Of these 179 public university presidents, 40 of them make more than double the amount the commander-in-chief earns in a single calendar year. Seventeen public university presidents make more than $1 million annually.

“I think private colleges should be allowed to pay whatever they want as they are private institutions,” Lauren Hackett, a student at Belmont University, told Campus Reform. “However, public institutions receive government support to make education affordable, so therefore overpaying public university administrators is an unfair burden on students and taxpayers.”

University of Texas System President William McRaven made $2,578,609 in 2018, the only public university president to make more than $2 million in a single year. Other lucrative salaries include those of Texas A&M University President Michael Young ($1,893,740), Pennsylvania State University President Eric Barron ($1,854,881), and University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto ($1,534,806).

[RELATED: U Alaska pres: Keep 'essential functions,' cut 'things that really don't add to the student experience']

James Johnson, president of the University of Alaska system, which recently faced massive budget cuts and declared a financial emergency, made $450,280 -- still over $50,000 more than the presidential salary amount.  Regarding the budget cuts, Johnson recently said that the university system should keep “essential functions” and cut “things that really don't add to the student experience.”

Private university presidents tend to make even more than their public school counterparts. According to the same report, 305 private university presidents make more than the president of the United States. Of those, 61 make more than $1 million.

The highest earner was Baylor University President Kenneth Starr, who made nearly $5 million in a single year.

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“With the rise of college tuition, it is ridiculous that university presidents make more money than the president of the entire country,” Natalie Kim, a Swarthmore College student, told Campus Reform. “Now we know where my tuition dollars are being spent.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ethanycai



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Ethan Cai
Ethan Cai | New Hampshire Campus Correspondent

Ethan Cai is a Campus Reform Intern and New Hampshire Campus Correspondent, reporting on liberal bias and abuse. He is a Freshman at Dartmouth College studying Quantitative Government Analysis with a minor in Economics.

20 Articles by Ethan Cai