How Much Are Public-College Presidents Paid?

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Data here may vary from what appeared in print, due to updates and corrections received after publication.

N/A Not applicable

* Did not serve as chief executive for the full year.


These data show the total compensation received by chief executives at public college and university systems in the 2020 calendar year.

All individuals who served as chief executive during this period, including interim and acting leaders, are included. Oftentimes, more than one chief executive served at an institution during a given year. Presidents who served less than the full year are noted.

Compensation values for all employees reflect the compensation earned from the institution (and associated foundations) across a calendar year, regardless of the role or roles held by those employees during the full year.

Photographs were obtained from college websites.

The Chronicle surveyed institutions to collect these public data. Our analysis generally includes all public doctoral universities (nonmilitary service) in the United States as well as all state college and university systems or governing boards with at least three campuses or 50,000 total students enrolled across the system in the most-recent academic year.

This analysis does not include systems, state boards, or administrative departments that oversee only technical or community colleges, nor does it include institutions in Puerto Rico. A limited number of system offices report relevant data to Ipeds.

For chief executives who led a campus and system jointly, the Ipeds data to which their pay is being compared reflect data corresponding only to the main campus. Across the history of this project, The Chronicle has asked institutions to submit the values of various types of reportable compensation earned by their chief executives, from both the public entity and any nonprofit organizations associated with the public entity. To capture a representative and diverse sample, The Chronicle’s methodology to arrive at a universe of colleges to survey has changed over the last decade.

To ascertain doctoral universities in those years, The Chronicle used the 2018 update of the Carnegie Basic Classification program.

As of publication time, the following institutions had not submitted compensation data associated with their current and former chief executives to The Chronicle. Open-records requests sent to some of these institutions also had not been fulfilled by publication time:

  • Auburn University
  • Ball State University
  • Central Michigan University
  • Cleveland State University
  • CUNY Graduate School and University Center
  • CUNY System Office
  • Delaware State University
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Georgia State University
  • Indiana University at Bloomington
  • Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
  • Indiana University System
  • Jackson State University
  • Lamar University
  • Marshall University
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Missouri State University at Springfield
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Nevada System of Higher Education-System Office
  • New Mexico State University
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • Ohio State University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
  • Southern University-Board and System
  • Stephen F Austin State University
  • Stony Brook University
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Temple University
  • Tennessee Board of Regents
  • Tennessee State University
  • Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi
  • Texas A&M University at Kingsville
  • Towson University
  • University of Alabama System Office
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa
  • University of Alaska System of Higher Education
  • University of Alaska at Fairbanks
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
  • University of California-System Administration Central Office
  • University of California-Berkeley
  • University of California-Davis
  • University of California-Irvine
  • University of California-Los Angeles
  • University of California-Riverside
  • University of California-San Diego
  • University of California-Santa Barbara
  • University of California-Santa Cruz
  • University of California-Merced
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Nevada-Las Vegas
  • University of Nevada-Reno
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of New Orleans
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of South Alabama
  • University of South Carolina at Columbia
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Southern Mississippi
  • University of Texas at Tyler
  • University of Toledo
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Virginia
  • Washburn University
  • Western Kentucky University

Compensation components

Total pay: total compensation reflects the summed values of “base pay,” “bonus pay,” “other,” and “benefits.”

Base pay: The value of the total base compensation earned by the employee.

Bonus pay: The value of all bonuses and incentive compensation earned by the employee.

Deferred paid out: The value of this type of compensation, formerly called deferred compensation, is reported here when it becomes payable, is paid, or is employee-deferred in the relevant period.

Severance pay: Compensation made to the employee upon his or her resignation or firing, as determined by his or her contract, a separation agreement, or a legal settlement. This can include severance pay or other agreed-upon separation pay.

Remaining reportable: This catch-all field for reportable compensation not covered by the last four fields is available for the 2015-16 to the 2016-17 fiscal years and for the 2018 calendar year and the years that followed. Additional information can be ascertained by hovering on the “i” button.

Other pay: From the 2010-11 through the 2014-15 fiscal years, this value is the sum of the compensation figures reported as “deferred paid out” and “severance pay.” From the 2015-16 to the 2016-17 fiscal years and in the 2018 calendar year and the years that followed, “other pay” reflects the sum of those two fields and the addition of any values reported as “remaining reportable.”

Benefits: This reflects the value of nontaxable benefits, including health and medical benefits, life insurance, housing provided by an employer, personal legal and financial services, dependent care, adoption assistance, tuition assistance, and cafeteria plans. It is available for the 2015-16 to the 2016-17 fiscal years, and in the 2018 calendar year and the years that followed.

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