Publication Date

Fall 2001


Our study makes use of data from a panel of over 400 private colleges and universities on their presidents’ salaries and benefits. These data, reported annually to the Internal Revenue Service on Form 990, have been collected by and reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education for academic years 1992–1993 through 1997–1998. We merge these data with those from other sources including the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education, Who’s Who in America, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, the Council on Aid to Education, and the National Science Foundation’s CASPAR system. This array of sources permits us to estimate salary and compensation level and change equations.

We first provide descriptive statistics on the compensation, mobility, and personal characteristics of presidents of American private colleges and universities. The next section estimates a model of the determinants of presidents’ salary and compensation levels. We then exploit the longitudinal nature of our data and present analyses of presidents’ salary and compensation changes. A brief conclusion summarizes our findings.


Suggested Citation
Ehrenberg, R. G., Cheslock, J. J., & Epifantseva, J. (2001). Paying our presidents: What do trustees value? [Electronic version]. The Review of Higher Education, 25(1), 15-37.

Required Publisher’s Statement
© 2001 Association for the Study of Higher Education. This article first appeared in The Review of Higher Education, vol.25, no.1 (Fall 2001), pp. 15-37. Reprinted with permission by The Johns Hopkins University Press.