May 26th, 2015
Is the air finally gushing out of the higher education bubble? Well, enrollment dropped last year, and even some pretty tony colleges have closed. Perhaps the most dramatic sign of all was spotted by New York Times' Frank Bruni: The new president of University of Texas-Austin has turned down the offered million dollar salary. Instead, he'll settle for a still-posh $750,000. But a new university president making 25% less is still news. The question is whether this trend will trickle down, as it must if higher education is to reform.
University presidents are a pretty well compensated bunch. As Bruni notes, Yale paid its former president Richard Levin an $8.5 million "additional retirement benefit." Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, gets $7 million a year. E. Gordon Gee of the Ohio State University got a $6 million retirement bonus after earning about $2 million a year as president.