High pay for CEOs attracts annual attention and recitations about the immorality of capitalism, but when the focus is on average CEO pay, they make less than half the annual earnings of college presidents, according to CBS News.
The average CEO earns $176,840 annually, an amount that would make a university president into a pauper. In academia, college presidents earn $377,261 annually.
Americans outraged and indebted by high college costs will be quick to draw the parallel between college president pay and their tuition bill. Correlation, though, doesn’t imply causation. Often, college presidents aren’t even the highest-paid college employees; athletic coaches earn more.
Regardless, college presidents “are well into the 99th percentile of compensation for wage earners in the United States,” Peter L. Hinrichs and Anne Chen noted for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
The median cost of presidential salaries per student is $138.85. Slashing presidential pay could free up some money for student scholarships or additional staff hiring, but students aren’t over-burdened by presidential salaries, as easy a scapegoat as it might be.
Overall staff salaries, however, might be a different story.