University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler's 2014 salary of $610,000 puts him in 30th place on a list of the 227 college presidents who lead the nation's public institutions.
According to a nationwide survey released Sunday by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the national average for public college presidents stands at $428,000. The study compared the salaries and benefits packages of university leaders, based on reports filed with the Department of Education and Internal Revenue Service.
Kaler's salary is set by the university's Board of Regents, which gave him a $15,250 raise and a five-year contract extension last year.
Kaler told the Star Tribune his salary lands him “right in the middle of the Big Ten.” The highest paid president on the survey was the Big Ten's Rodney Erickson, who earned nearly $1.5 million in total compensation for fiscal year 2013-2014 at Penn State.
“It’s a $3.5 billion business, and I’m the CEO of it," Kaler told the newspaper. "I’m paid in line with people who have similar jobs.”
The report also shows the university president was not the highest-paid staff person on campus at more than half the institutions tracked. At Minnesota, Kaler's salary is far less than Gophers head football coach Jerry Kill's, who earned $2.1 million last season. Men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino earns an average of $1.2 million.
In a Star Tribune editorial published May 31, Kaler wrote the university has an "action plan on ethics in research that has the potential to be a national model."
This follows a persistent controversy that has dogged the university over its medical research.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education survey, Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, had a base pay of $380,406 and received an additional $58,000 for housing, car and personal expenses. That earned him a rank of 122nd place on the list of presidents.