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New York state has highest paid private college presidents

Three dozen private college presidents nationwide received more than a million dollars in pay for one year, according to a study released this week. Among them is Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor, who will be stepping down in 2014.


In the report by the Chronicle of Higher Education, 36 private college presidents earned more than $1 million in 2010, according to the latest available IRS 990 forms. One-quarter of those schools are in New York state, making it the most well-represented state on the list. The majority are in New York City.


With $3,047,703, Bob Kerrey of the New School topped the list. Shirley Ann Jackson of Rensselaer Polytechnic, near Albany, came in second, raking in $2,340,441. SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor, received just over $1,118,388.


These numbers include base salaries and other compensation like stipends, incentives and bonuses, according to the study's author Jack Stripling.

“These are nonprofit organizations, so they're tax exempt organizations,” Stripling said. “The question I think is fair to raise, is whether they are good stewards of their money. And does paying a president a couple million dollars indicate whether they are or not, that's in the eye of the beholder.”

Stripling said college boards justify the high compensation, saying that college presidents take large roles in fundraising for the university.

SU's Cantor ranks 27th on the list. This fall, Cantor announced she will step down from her post in 2014.

“I wouldn't be surprised to see her move up [the list] as she nears the end of her tenure. A lot of times that's when you see big payouts and deferred compensation plans,” Stripling said.