TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

39 College Presidents Made > $1 Million in 2010, Half Got Gross-Up to Cover Taxes on Perks

New York Times:  Three Dozen Private-College Presidents Earned Over $1 Million in 2010, Study Finds:

Three dozen private-college presidents earned more than $1 million in total compensation in 2010, the same number as in the previous year, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s analysis of federal tax documents. ... The median total compensation among the presidents was $396,588, up 2.8% from the previous year.

Here are the ten highest paid private college presidents:

  1. Bob Kerrey (The New School), $3,047,703
  2. Shirley Ann Jackson (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), $2,340,441
  3. David Pollick (Birmingham-Southern College), $2,312,098
  4. Mark Wrighton (Washington University), $2,268,837
  5. Nicholas Zeppos (Vanderbilt University), $2,228,349
  6. Steven Sample (USC), $1,963,710
  7. Lee Bollinger (Columbia University),  $1,932,931
  8. Richard Levin Yale University $1,616,066
  9. Robert Zimmer (University of Chicago) $1,597,918
  10. Jack Varsalona (Wilmington University) $1,550,218

In contrast,only three public university presidents received total 2010 compensation in excess of $1,000,000:

  1. Gordon Gee (Ohio State University), $1,992,221
  2. Michael McKinney (Texas A&M University), $1,966,347
  3. Graham Spanier (Pennsylvania State University), $1,068,763

Chronicle of Higher Education:  Pay and Perks Creep Up for Private-College Presidents; Some of the Highest Paid Get Cash to Cover Taxes, Too:

Private-college presidents often draw scrutiny for their hefty compensation packages, but most of them have a ready comeback: I could make a lot more money in the corporate world.

While this statement is surely sometimes true, it is also true that some of the nation's top-paid presidents continue to receive perks that their corporate counterparts have relinquished under shareholder criticism.

Among the 50 highest-paid private-college presidents in 2010, half led institutions that provided top executives with cash to cover taxes on bonuses and other benefits, a Chronicle analysis has found. This practice, known as "grossing up," has fallen out of fashion at many publicly traded companies, where boards have decided the perk is simply not worth the shareholder outrage it can invite.

(Hat Tip: Greg McNeal.)

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I'm surprised that there are no comments on this, especially since many college presidents support higher taxes on the wealthy while benefiting themselves from having their salaries grossed up to cover whatever taxes there are. No skin off of their backs.

Posted by: Woody | Dec 12, 2012 5:33:58 PM