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National trends could affect president's pay


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Peter Likins
By Nick Smith
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
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National trends in university president salaries could affect the salary of the incoming UA president, according to a recent survey.

The heads of 23 of 139 public universities will make more than $500,000 this year, according to a survey released by the Chronicle for Higher Education. Last year's survey reported 17 public university presidents who made more than $500,000.

President Peter Likins currently makes $503,400, which includes a base salary of $285,000 and a deferred compensation of $163,000. The rest compensates housing and transportation, Likins said.

Likins donates $60,000 back to the university from the $285,000 he receives from the state each year.

He began giving this contribution a few years ago when the UA was facing a budget crisis.

"At the time, I couldn't accept the salary increase," Likins said.

By comparison, Arizona State University President Michael Crow receives a total package of $578,394, said Sarah Auffret, assistant director of media relations at ASU. Northern Arizona University President John Haeger makes $315,387, said Lisa Nelson, NAU director of public affairs.

While Likins doesn't expect the next UA president to follow suit with his donation, he said the new president could make more than he did.

"I wouldn't be surprised if my successor ended up with a substantial salary package," Likins said.

The median amount public university presidents were paid is $360,000, said Evan Goldstein, communications assistant at the Chronicle.

The survey compiles numbers on the president's salary that each institution must file through the Internal Revenue Service each year, and the numbers contained in the survey are from fiscal year 2004, Goldstein said.

Ultimately, it will be up to the Arizona Board of Regents to determine what the new president's salary will be, but regents have not put numbers on the table yet.

"I kind of put (the future president's salary) in the same category as other employment pursuits," said Anne Barton, public affairs officer for the Arizona Board of Regents. "I don't think the board is dealing with that yet."

Regent Fred Boice, chairman of the UA Presidential Search Committee could not be reached for comment.

Students like Kelly Dulaney, a creative writing junior, think a president's salary of a $500,000 is a mixed bag.

"It could go either way," Dulaney said.

Dulaney said on one hand it's good that more money is being poured into the university system, but on the other hand, more money should be used to directly aid students.

Ashley Walters, a political science sophomore, thought $500,000 was a little much for a university president.

"It's higher than I expected for that position," she said.



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