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93 Public College Presidents Make More Than President Obama

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GORDON GEE OBAMA
President Barack Obama and Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee arrive at the Ohio State University spring commencement in the Ohio Stadium, Sunday, May 5, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nearly 100 public college presidents and chancellors made more money in 2013 than President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

A review by The Huffington Post of the annual report from The Chronicle of Higher Education showed that the heads of 93 colleges made more than the Obamas' reported total income of $503,183 for the year.

Nine public university presidents, out of that group of 93, made more than $1 million in 2013.

The Obamas' 2013 income represents a fall-off from 2012, when the first family reported earning $608,611. Yet even compared to that higher figure, 54 colleges and chancellors still made more money in 2013 than the Obamas did in 2012.

Colleges have been on the defensive on presidential salaries since the Chronicle's report was released in May, around the same time as research from the Institute for Policy Studies showing that many of the state schools with the richest presidents had students who were collecting more debt than the average public university graduate.

Take the University of Michigan, for example. In a May letter to the IPS, shared with The Huffington Post, the school argued in defense of UM President Mary Sue Coleman's pay. Coleman collected $603,357 in base salary in 2013, but $1,037,357 in total compensation. The IPS put Michigan on its list of "Most Unequal Public Universities," noting that student debt at UM rose 18 percent between summer 2006 and summer 2012, with the average graduate carrying $27,815 upon receiving his or her degree.

"As leader of the University of Michigan, our president is responsible for three campuses, a $2.5 billion Health System and the largest research portfolio among public institutions in the United States," the university wrote in its letter to the IPS. "Her compensation is commensurate with her position in a highly complex organization."

But critics argue that the president of the United States runs something much more complex on a base salary of $400,000.

This disparity was highlighted prior to the Chronicle and IPS analyses. In April, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni released a report pointing out that at least 32 schools had paid their chief executives at least $400,000 in 2012.

“The American people are directing millions of dollars to these universities and the return on investment seems too often to be lower academic standards, wasteful spending, and plenty of student debt," Anne Neal, ACTA president, said at the time of the report's release.

Meanwhile, a majority of people graduating from public colleges are carrying student debt, often in excess of $26,000.

Coleman retired from the University of Michigan this year. Her replacement, Mark Schlissel, will make a base salary of $750,000, as well as receiving a $20,000 annual retirement fund, a $100,000 annual retention bonus, and a free house, driver, car and allowance, according to The Ann Arbor News.

Below are the names and salaries of the 93 public college presidents who earned more in 2013 than the Obama family:

  • 1
    E. Gordon Gee - $6,057,615
    AP
    Ohio State University
  • 2
    R. Bowen Loftin - $1,636,274
    WikiMedia
    Texas A&M University at College Station
  • 3
    Hamid A. Shirvani - $1,311,095
    AP
    North Dakota University System
  • 4
    Michael F. Adams - $1,295,954
    AP
    University of Georgia
  • 5
    Renu Khator - $1,266,000
    WikiMedia:
    University of Houston main campus
  • 6
    Sally K. Mason - $1,139,705
    WikiMedia
    University of Iowa
  • 7
    Michael A. McRobbie - $1,111,924
    AP
    Indiana University
  • 8
    V. Gordon Moulton - $1,072,121
    Courtesy: University of South Alabama
    University of South Alabama
  • 9
    Mary Sue Coleman - $1,037,357
    AP
    University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
  • 10
    Mark Yudof - $857,085
    AP
    University of California system
  • 11
    Ray L. Watts - $853,464
    Courtesy: University of Alabama at Birmingham
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • 12
    Charles W. Steger - $836,886
    AP
    Virginia Tech
  • 13
    Francisco G. Cigarroa - $815,833
    AP
    University of Texas system
  • 14
    John C. Hitt - $795,819
    AP
    University of Central Florida
  • 15
    David E. Daniel - $793,265
    Courtesy: University of Texas at Dallas
    University of Texas at Dallas
  • 16
    James P. Clements - $790,300
    AP
    West Virginia University
  • 17
    G.P. (Bud) Peterson - $777, 841
    WikiMedia
    Georgia Institute of Technology
  • 18
    John M. Dunn - $776,062
    WikiMedia
    Western Michigan University
  • 19
    Michael K. Young - $770,000
    Getty Images
    University of Washington
  • 20
    Patrick T. Harker - $767,285
    Courtesy: University of Delaware
    University of Delaware
  • 21
    Michael Rao - $736,284
    AP
    Virginia Commonwealth University
  • 22
    Jay Gogue - $733,850
    Courtesy: Auburn University
    Auburn University
  • 23
    William C. Powers - $731,638
    Courtesy: University of Texas at Austin
    University of Texas at Austin
  • 24
    Teresa A. Sullivan - $731,537
    AP
    University of Virginia
  • 25
    Robert E. Witt - $725,000
    Courtesy: University of Alabama
    University of Alabama system
  • 26
    Bernard J. Machen - $720,594
    WikiMedia
    University of Florida
  • 27
    Eric Kaler - $693,150
    WikiMedia
    University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
  • 28
    Judy Genshaft - $691,900
    Courtesy: University of South Florida
    University of South Florida
  • 29
    Satish K. Tripathi - $681,139
    Courtesy: University at Buffalo
    University at Buffalo
  • 30
    Kent R. Hance - $677,115
    Courtesy: Texas Tech University
    Texas Tech University system
  • 31
    Michael M. Crowe - $674,200
    Getty Images
    Arizona State University at Tempe
  • 32
    John Sharp - $673,300
    WikiMedia
    Texas A&M University System
  • 33
    Barbara Couture - $672,716
    WikiMedia
    New Mexico State University
  • 34
    Lou Anna K. Simon - $672,000
    AP
    Michigan State University
  • 35
    Michael B. McCall - $669,463
    Courtesy: Kentucky Community and Technical College
    Kentucky Community and Technical College system
  • 36
    Ronald M. Berkman - $667,500
    Courtesy: Cleveland State University
    Cleveland State University
  • 37
    Edward J. Ray - $666,913
    Courtesy: Oregon State University
    Oregon State University
  • 38
    Samuel L. Stanley Jr. - $664,855
    WikiMedia
    State University of New York at Stony Brook
  • 39
    Anthony Frank - $658,890
    Courtesy: Colorado State University
    Colorado State University
  • 40
    Judy Bonner - $655,000
    AP
    University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa
  • 41
    David W. Pershing - $654,579
    AP
    University of Utah
  • 42
    Elson S. Floyd - $650,000
    AP
    Washington State University
  • 43
    Mark A. Nordenberg - $649,600
    Getty Images
    University of Pittsburgh main campus
  • 44
    David R. Hopkins - $646,311
    Courtesy: Write State University
    Write State University
  • 45
    Phyllis Wise - $641,392
    AP
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 46
    Lestor A. Lefton - $635,843
    WikiMedia
    Kent State University
  • 47
    Harris Pastides - $631,790
    Courtesy: University of South Carolina at Columbia
    University of South Carolina at Columbia
  • 48
    Eli Capilouto - $625,000
    AP
    University of Kentucky
  • 49
    James R. Ramsey - $625,000
    Getty Images
    University of Louisville
  • 50
    Nancy L. Zimpher - $621,200
    Getty Images
    State University of New York system
  • 51
    W. Randolph Woodsen - $619,555
    Courtesy: North Carolina State University
    North Carolina State University
  • 52
    Rodney Erickson $618,220
    Getty Images
    Pennsylvania State University at University Park
  • 53
    Brian McCall - $616,000
    Courtesy: Texas State University system
    Texas State University system
  • 54
    David L. Boren - $610,903
    Getty Images
    University of Oklahoma at Norman
  • 55
    Mary Ellen Mazey - $600,149
    Courtesy: Bowling Green State University
    Bowling Green State University
  • 56
    William L. Jenkins - $600,000
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge
  • 57
    David C. Hodge - $596,481
    Courtesy: Miami University (Ohio)
    Miami University (Ohio)
  • 58
    Roderick J. McDavis - $596,024
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Ohio University
  • 59
    Robert L. Caret - $592,921
    masshighered/Flickr
    University of Massachusetts system
  • 60
    Mark B. Rosenberg - $590,773
    Aaron Davidson via Getty Images
    Florida International University
  • 61
    Eric J. Barron - $589,377
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Florida State University
  • 62
    Susan Herbst - $588,000
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of Connecticut
  • 63
    Lloyd A. Jacobs - $585,211
    Courtesy: University of Toledo
    University of Toledo
  • 64
    Thomas W. Ross - $578,363
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of North Carolina system
  • 65
    G. David Gearhart - $579,930
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
  • 66
    Marinus (Wim) W. Wiewel - $576,770
    Courtesy: Portland State University
    Portland State University
  • 67
    Joel S. Bloom - $566,280
    New Jersey Institute of Technology/Flickr
    New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • 68
    Steven Leath - $563,247
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Iowa State University
  • 69
    Ann Weaver Hart - $560,500
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of Arizona
  • 70
    Angel Cabrera - $559,085
    World Economic Forum/Flickr
    George Mason University
  • 71
    Mark P. Becker - $554,162
    Neilson Barnard via Getty Images
    Georgia State University
  • 72
    Robert Barchi - $551,669
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Rutgers University at New Brunswick
  • 73
    Luis M. Proenza - $547,150
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of Akron
  • 74
    Robert A. Altenkirch - $545,000
    Courtesy: University of Alabama at Huntsville
    University of Alabama at Huntsville
  • 75
    Paula Allen-Meares - $540,644
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of Illinois at Chicago
  • 76
    Harvey Stenger - $530,739
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Binghamton University
  • 77
    Matthew Goldstein - $526,314
    Scott Gries via Getty Images
    City University of New York
  • 78
    James B. Milliken - $523,144
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of Nebraska system
  • 79
    H. Holden Thorp - $512,010
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 80
    Michael R. Gottfredson - $521,629
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of Oregon
  • 81
    M.R.C. Greenwood - 509,480
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of Hawaii system
  • 82
    John M. Rudley - $508,619
    Courtesy: Texas Southern University
    Texas Southern University
  • 83
    Thomas M. Apple - $503,997
    luahiwa3/Flickr
    University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • 84
    Stan L. Albrecht - $501,652
    Courtesy: Utah State University
    Utah State University
  • 85
    Glenn DuBois - $501,023
    Courtesy: Virginia Community College system
    Virginia Community College system
  • 86
    William E. Kirwan - $499,800
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University System of Maryland
  • 87
    John R. Broderick - $499,118
    Courtesy: Old Dominion University
    Old Dominion University
  • 88
    Michael V. Martin - $496,259
    Courtesy: Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge
    Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge
  • 89
    Wallace D. Loh - $492,277
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of Maryland at College Park
  • 90
    Freeman Hrabowski - $491,277
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of Maryland-Baltimore County
  • 91
    Joseph A. DiPietro - $486,378
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of Tennessee system
  • 92
    Robert G. Frank - $485,664
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    University of New Mexico
  • 93
    Jo Ann M. Gora - $484,160
    WikiMedia
    Ball State University

CORRECTION: This story was updated to reflect the American Council of Trustees and Alumni's report stating 32 schools the group reviewed paid their president or chancellor more than $400,000, not 49 as previously reported. The incorrect number came from a portion of the report showing that on average, 49 schools reviewed by ACTA paid their chief executive a base salary of $431,986.

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