Hot on the heels of a NY Times feature about how more college students are giving up on college to strike out in the real world on their own, this encouraging report that shows a college education isn't a total waste of time and money, especially if you play your cards right and end up in administration. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, private, nonprofit college presidents are making more money than ever:
In 2010, 36 private-college presidents earned more than $1-million, according to the most recent federal tax filings. The median compensation was $396,649. That figure represents a 2.8-percent increase over 2009.
The highest-paid president in 2010 was J. Robert Kerrey, who earned $3-million as president of the New School. Mr. Kerrey, the former governor and two-term U.S. senator from Nebraska, resigned as the college's president in December 2010. His earnings included a $1.2-million "retention bonus," which New School trustees said they provided to ensure a smooth transition to his successor.
Kerrey, you'll recall, was the target of heated student-led protests during his tenure, during which students repeatedly staged high-profile occupations of New School property in attempt to force Kerrey out. (Kerrey was unpopular with students and faculty, who cast a vote of no-confidence against him, for his management style and support for the Iraq War.)
To be sure, Kerrey isn't the only nonprofit college fat cat in New York. Out of the 20 highest-paid private college presidents across the country, five are making bank here in the Empire State. The second highest-paid college president was Shirley Ann Jackson up at RPI, where she made over $2.3 million a year. Then there's Lee C. Bollinger, whose total annual compensation at Columbia University in 2010 was $1,932,931. Hot on his heels that year was NYU's president John Sexton, who walked with $1,476,625. Bringing up the rear in the top 20 was Richard M. Joel, the president Yeshiva University, whose compensation totaled $1,242,577.
For more regrets on not devoting yourself to a lifetime of service in the field of higher education, here's a fun interactive graph showing all the compensation received in 2010 by 493 chief executives at 480 private, nonprofit colleges in the United States.