Thirty-two university presidents in the US earned more than $1 million in 2013. Data published this week by The Chronicle of Higher Education found that Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University, was the highest-paid university leader in the US, earning a staggering $4.6 million, which included basic salary, bonuses and other compensation.
It is perhaps not surprising that a private Ivy League institution has the top-earning president. But when glancing further down the list, to what extent does presidents’ pay correlate with university prestige (when the latter is judged on position in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-16)?
The answer is, not much. While Amy Gutmann, president of University of Pennsylvania (ranked 17th), was the second highest-paid university leader, many lower-ranked institutions are paying millions to their president each year. Yeshiva University (164) president Richard Joel earned $2.5 million, while Scott Cowen, then-president of Tulane University (251-300), took $1.6 million.
When crunching the numbers for the UK, it is a similar story. The highest-paid vice-chancellor in the 2013-14 academic year, based on THE’s annual survey, was Neil Gorman, former leader of Nottingham Trent University (601-800), who earned a total of £623,000, including pension and other benefits. The University of Oxford’s (2) Andrew Hamilton came second, followed by Martin Bean, former vice-chancellor of The Open University (401-500).
Six of the 20 top-earning UK vice-chancellors led universities based in London, perhaps suggesting that location is a stronger influence on pay than prestige. In comparison, four of the institutions in the equivalent list for the US are based in New York.
Almost all of the 20 highest-paid university presidents in the US led private institutions; Pennsylvania State University and Texas A&M University are the only public universities featured, in seventh and 17th place respectively.
Four of the 20 highest-paid university presidents in the US were women, compared with just two in the UK.
Below is a list of the top 20 institutions in the UK and the US ranked by the pay of the vice-chancellor/president, and filtered to include only institutions that feature in the top 800 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-16 (on this basis seven US and two UK institutions have been excluded).
The US figures are based on data collected by The Chronicle of Higher Education on the pay of private and public university presidents in the 2013 calendar year.
The UK figures are based on data collected by Times Higher Education on the pay of university vice-chancellors in the 2013-14 academic year.
20 highest-paid university presidents in the US
|Rank||President||University||Salary ($)||WUR rank||US rank|
|1||Lee Bollinger||Columbia University||4,615,230||15||10|
|2||Amy Gutmann||University of Pennsylvania||3,065,746||17||12|
|3||Richard Joel||Yeshiva University||2,503,794||164||57|
|4||Nicholas Zeppos||Vanderbilt University||2,147,452||87||35|
|5||Scott Cowen||Tulane University||1,634,000||251-300||79-91|
|6||Ronald Daniels||Johns Hopkins University||1,629,325||11||7|
|7||Rodney Erickson||Pennsylvania State University at University Park||1,494,603||75||33|
|8||John Sexton||New York University||1,452,992||30||18|
|9||C. L. Max Nikias||University of Southern California||1,422,458||68||32|
|10||Robert Zimmer||University of Chicago||1,337,869||10||6|
|11||Donna Shalala||University of Miami||1,309,328||161||55|
|12||Shirley Ann Jackson||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||1,304,445||251-300||79-91|
|13||John Fry||Drexel University||1,288,645||351-400||99-112|
|14||Morton Schapiro||Northwestern University||1,211,285||25||17|
|15||Robert Brown||Boston University||1,182,534||64||30|
|16||Richard Brodhead||Duke University||1,159,855||20||14|
|17||R. Bowen Loftin||Texas A&M University at College Station||1,128,957||193||63|
|18||Richard Levin||Yale University||1,119,974||12||8|
|19||Barbara Snyder||Case Western Reserve University||1,092,979||133||50|
|20||Steven Knapp||George Washington University||1,091,805||201-250||64-78|
20 highest-paid university vice-chancellors in the UK
|Rank||Vice-chancellor||University||Salary (£)||WUR rank||UK rank|
|1||Neil Gorman||Nottingham Trent University||623,000||601-800||63-78|
|2||Andrew Hamilton||University of Oxford||442,000||2||1|
|3||Martin Bean||The Open University||412,000||401-500||47-58|
|4||David Eastwood||University of Birmingham||410,000||119||18|
|5||Steve Smith||University of Exeter||400,000||93||14|
|6||Glynis Breakwell||University of Bath||395,000||251-300||37-38|
|7||Craig Calhoun||London School of Economics and Political Science||394,000||23||5|
|8||Christopher Snowden||University of Surrey||392,000||251-300||37-38|
|9||Michael Arthur||University College London||391,660||14||4|
|10||Keith O'Nions||Imperial College London||389,000||8||3|
|11||David Latchman||Birkbeck, University of London||388,000||201-250||35-36|
|12||Keith Burnett||University of Sheffield||378,000||97||15|
|13||David Greenaway||University of Nottingham||374,000||143||24|
|14||Howard Newby||University of Liverpool||368,000||157||26|
|15||Julia King||Aston University||357,803||401-500||47-58|
|16||Nigel Thrift||University of Warwick||348,000||80||12|
|17||Paul Curran||City University London||346,000||401-500||47-58|
|18||Leszek Borysiewicz||University of Cambridge||344,000||4||2|
|19||Jim McDonald||University of Strathclyde||334,000||401-500||47-58|
|20||Michael Driscoll||Middlesex University||326,000||601-800||63-78|