The Best-Paid Local Public College Presidents Are …

Not at the schools that provide the best value in education. Surprise!

Nittany Lion | University of Delaware Blue Hen | Aspen Photo /

Nittany Lion | University of Delaware Blue Hen | Aspen Photo /

Two local (sort of) institutions have presidents who were among the top 10 highest-paid presidents of public universities, according to data from the Chronicle of Higher Education. This week, Time compared that data to Money magazine’s new list of “schools that provide the most value for your tuition dollar.”

Number seven on the Chronicle‘s Top 10 list is Patrick T. Harker, president of the University of Delaware, who received total compensation of $800,156 for the 2013-’14 school year. Money magazine ranks UD 65th on its “best value” list.

And the highest-paid public university president in the country during that time period? Ex-Penn State prez Rodney A. Erickson, whose total compensation for the final year of his tenure (he stepped down at the end of the 2013-’14 school year) was $1,494,603 — though that figure includes the value of a university-sponsored life insurance package that was discontinued that year and thus transferred to him. (Not for nothing, though, Eric Barron, who replaced him as Penn State president, was hired at a higher base salary, $800,000, than Erickson’s, $633,336.) 

Penn State stands in the 157th slot on Money’s value list. Guess it’s true what Time magazine’s report on the data notes: “The highest paid administrators don’t always work at the biggest, or even the wealthiest, universities. There also appears to be little relationship between the value a college provides to its students and the largesse it provides to its leaders.” In case you were wondering, the median salary for public college presidents for the 2013-’14 school year was $428,250. And in case you were wondering even more, Penn prez Amy Gutmann made $2.473 million that school year.

Local schools that are among the Top 100 on the Money “best value” list: Princeton, 3rd; Penn, 12th; Bucknell, 37th; Lehigh, 46th; Lafayette, 54th; Delaware, 65th; the College of New Jersey, 71st; Villanova, 75th; and Grove City and Swarthmore, tied at 89th.

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