The Chronicle of Higher Education has kindly validated our complaints about higher-education excess. According to the Chronicle’s analysis, 42 private college presidents received over one million dollars in total compensation in 2011, while the median compensation was $410,523. Though many of the top earners preside over some of the largest and most prestigious institutions–Chicago, Penn, and Columbia–a good number come from less prominent schools such as Marist, whose president, Dennis J. Murray, makes $2.7 million, and Chapman, where president James L. Doty makes $1.1 million.
Presidents at elite universities can assume that the good times will continue to roll. Despite the overall drop in private school enrollment, students will still apply to and enroll in their schools in droves, which will keep their trustees happy and their salaries sky-high. Those at lower-tier schools, however, will not be so lucky, as declines in enrollment and revenue will ultimately force trustees to cut administrative salaries. To save face, these presidents might even cut their salaries themselves, as Richard Joel of Yeshiva University recently did. Yes, mediocre institutions have the most to fear from the coming bursting of the higher-ed bubble. We should all be thankful.