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A Nation Fails Its Youth When Millions Go to College Presidents, Not Students

A recent report by The Chronicle for Higher Education has found 42 private college presidents made over $1 million in executive pay, up from last year’s figure of 36 millionaire presidents. The list was based on 2011 federal tax data from institutions receiving endowments.

Broken piggy bank with IOU note inside

What hope for tomorrow’s debt-ridden, unemployed college students?

University of Chicago president Robert J. Zimmer was first on the list with $3,358,723 in total compensation. This is an increase compared to former New School president Bob Kerrey’s total compensation of $3,047,703 when he was first last year. Last year, Zimmer was ninth on the list with $1,597,918 as compensation.

To place the salary in context, the University of Chicago, for the 2011-12 year, had its tuition and fees as $43,780. The average debt of students, in 2012, was $22,663 and 34 percent of students graduated with debt that same year, according to Project on Student Debt.

Last year, when The New York Times reported on the list, Jack Stripling commented on issue that has grown since last year — inflated pay:

‘There’s no indication in these data that boards are retracting in term of presidential pay,’ said Jack Stripling, a senior reporter at The Chronicle. ‘Over the long run, we’re still seeing more presidents who are paid at an elite level.’

One major problem associated with the pay is the focus of universities to attract the best talent for the betterment of the university, despite a major crisis sitting directly in their faces with two out of five college graduates stating their full-time job doesn’t need a degree in the first place.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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