Can You Guess How Much Some Public College Leaders Earn? (Hint: It’s in the Millions)

Graduating students are seen during the commencement ceremony at Ohio State University on May 5, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio. US President Barack Obama gave the commencement address. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

The Chronicle of Higher Education released new data Sunday on the total compensation of public college leaders in 2011-12, finding their salaries to have risen by nearly 5% on average in the last fiscal year.

Four presidents at public colleges took in over $1 million, the report found, and the median total compensation rose about 4.7 percent to $441,392.

Here’s what a screen shot of the top 5 earners looked like:

(Photo Credit: Chronicle of Higher Education)

And here is a list of the total compensation the top ten (an “x” indicates they are no longer president), via the Associated Press:

1. Graham Spanier (x), Pennsylvania State University, $2,906,721

2. Jay Gogue, Auburn University, $2,542,865

3. E. Gordon Gee, Ohio State University, $1,899,420

4. Alan Merten (x), George Mason University, $1,869,369

5. Jo Ann Gora, Ball State University, $984,647

6. Mary Sue Coleman, University of Michigan, $918,783

7. Charles Steger, Virginia Tech, $857,749

8. Mark Yudof, University of California, $847,149

9. Bernard Machen, University of Florida, $834,562

10. Francisco Cigarroa, University of Texas, $815,833

The report acknowledges that the total compensation of Penn State’s Graham B. Spanier isn’t quite comparable to the others because he “received most of his money in severance pay and deferred compensation, which is money he earned during his 16-year presidency that was not previously paid out.”

Spanier was fired in 2011 over his handling of the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

“By including deferred compensation Spanier earned over his 16 years as president, which was part of an existing contract, the Chronicle survey obviously is not comparing ‘apples to apples’ with annual salaries of other presidents,” a university spokeswoman told the Chronicle.

Still, the report is making news as students struggle with rising tuition costs and resign themselves to years of debt to pay for it all.

Jack Stripling, a senior reporter at the Chronicle of Higher Education who helped compile the report, commented: “There’s been a continual trend where we see more presidents crossing that million-dollar mark — the rich are getting richer.”

Click here to read the entire Chronicle of Higher Education report.