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By Janet Lorin
NEW YORK - Yale University’s Richard C. Levin was the Ivy League’s highest-paid president at $1.63 million in total compensation in 2009, as 36 private-college leaders received more than $1 million each.
Six more chief executives than in the previous year earned more than $1 million, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The journal, based in Washington, Sunday published a study of pay for 519 leaders at 482 private colleges in the U.S. in 2009, the latest year with available data.
The median compensation for presidents at the 50 institutions with the largest budgets rose 75 percent in a decade to $876,792 in 2009. At colleges and universities with budgets of more than $50 million, such compensation increased 2.2 percent in 12 months.
“To the extent that most of these compensation packages are contractually set up, the increases that presidents experience are in many ways impervious to economic conditions,” Jack Stripling, a Chronicle reporter, said in an interview.
Levin of Yale, in New Haven, Conn., got 6.4 percent more than in 2008. Levin, 64, is the longest-serving president in the Ivy League of eight selective institutions in the northeastern U.S. An economist, he has led Yale since 1993. Yale’s endowment, totaling $16.7 billion on June 30, makes it the second-richest of the schools, after Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
None of the top four earners in 2009 are still in office. Constantine N. Papadakis of Drexel University in Philadelphia, who died in April 2009, earned the most that year, $4.91 million. The majority of his earnings came from life insurance and accrued compensation paid to his wife.
The next-highest compensated was William R. Brody, then president of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, with $3.82 million. Donald V. DeRosa, then head of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., got $2.36 million. Henry S. Bienen, who was president of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., received $2.24 million.
Among the eight Ivy League presidents, half received less compensation in 2009 than in the previous year, according to the Chronicle’s analysis.
The total compensation of Lee C. Bollinger of Columbia University in New York was $1.53 million, a decrease of 13 percent. Amy Gutmann of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia earned $1.32 million, a 3.4 percent decline. David Skorton of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., received $862,000, a 5.9 percent drop. Ruth Simmons of Brown University in Providence got $657,000, down 26 percent.
Among the gainers, Drew Faust, president of Harvard, received $875,000, a 6.4 percent increase. Shirley Tilghman of Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., collected $911,000, up 3.4 percent.
In his first year at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., Jim Yong Kim received $613,000.
The Chronicle analyzed the most recently available federal tax returns, which are made public when filers are not-for-profit institutions, as is the case with most colleges and universities. Total compensation for the executives may include benefits such as housing and deferred pay.
As colleges pay leaders more, one way that the institutions obtain money needed to operate is by raising prices paid by students and their families.
President Barack Obama plans to hold a meeting with several college presidents today to discuss affordability in higher education, according to a statement from the White House.
Tuition and fees at public universities in the U.S. increased 8.3 percent this year, twice the rate of inflation, to an average $8,244, while costs at nonprofit, private colleges rose 4.5 percent to $28,500, the College Board, a New York-based nonprofit, said in an October report. Surging tuition has left the average college graduate with more than $20,000 in loans, according to the research.