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5 of the Top-paid University Presidents in Illinois

06/12/2015 10:41 am ET | Updated Jun 12, 2016

Illinois tax dollars go toward funding some of the operations at the state's public colleges and universities, so taxpayers should know exactly where that money is going. This could help put that money flow into perspective: It takes the full tuition of 65 students to pay for the yearly total compensation of the highest-paid public university president in Illinois at the University of Illinois.

The Chronicle of Higher Education released a list of the top-paid public university presidents during the 2014 fiscal year in Illinois that also includes a nationwide analysis. There's about an $800,000 difference in what the highest-paid president in Illinois makes and the salary for the state's 10th-highest-paid president.

Nationally, the public university president with the highest compensation out of 238 public school chief executives in the country is the president of Pennsylvania State University at University Park, Rodney A. Erickson. He made nearly $1.5 million during the 2014 fiscal year, the year for when the most recent figures are available. (It would take the tuition of 88 students at his school to pay his total compensation for one year.) That number seems much higher than an average Illinois school president's salary, but in reality, the top Illinois administrator is not too far behind Erickson. That president comes in as the fifth-highest-paid public university president in the United States. Check out the list below to see the top Illinois university presidents' salaries and which schools they lead.

The Chronicle of Higher Education points out that while most public college presidents are paid only through a base salary, many of Illinois' top-paid presidents also receive other compensation which bumps up their total pay. The median base pay for university presidents nationally, says the Chronicle, is about $400,000 a year.

These rankings are based on their total compensation after bonuses, severance and deferred compensation paid out in addition to the administrators' base salaries.

Here were five of the highest-paid public university presidents in Illinois in 2014:

10. Randy J. Dunn

Southern Illinois University system

Total compensation: $71,667

Base pay: $71,667

Tuition equivalent to compensation: N/A

9. Larry Dietz

Illinois State University

Total compensation: $95,578

Base pay: $95,578

Tuition equivalent to compensation: N/A

8. Karen Hunter Anderson

Illinois Community College system

Total compensation: $165,000

Base pay: $165,000

Tuition equivalent to compensation: N/A

7. Glenn W. Poshard

Southern Illinois University system

Total compensation: $323,688

Base pay: $277,800

Tuition equivalent to compensation: N/A

6. Rita Cheng

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Total compensation: $354,936

Base pay: $354,936

Tuition equivalent to compensation: 29.35

Check out the top five highest-paid Illinois university presidents, including the top-earner. That president's salary is equivalent to the tuition of 65 students!

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