College graduates are filtering into the work force, several without much hope for a high paying job. With that in mind, the Chronicles of Higher Education released a ranking of compensation for public-college presidents. While their salaries can appear on par with other presidents, benefits can quickly double their income.
Genevieve Mantell is a nurse, thanks to a degree from the University of Western Florida. But she wasn't happy to hear that some presidents of public colleges make millions.
"I have a bachelor's degree which cost me $30,000 in debt, and to know that they're still making millions of dollars in a salary and you can't pass it on to students, you know, to where we get hired on as a nurse, our paychecks are in the 20's dollars an hour still, it's not fair," says Mantell.
According to the Chronicles of Higher Education website, Graham Spanier, former president of Pennsylvania State University received nearly $3 million in the last fiscal year. Much of that was retirement and severance pay when he was fired in connection with a child-sex-abuse scandal involving a former assistant football coach. Number two on that list is Auburn University president, Jay Gogue who topped out at $2.5 million. His base pay is nearly $500,000 of that, but $1.8 million is considered deferred compensation, an incentive presidents receive after staying a certain number of years.
"I mean I know they have a big job and you have to pay somebody well to do that job but it's hard to know that you have to pay so much for college, you know, but also to finance these huge salaries," says Mobile resident Kathryn Bradley.
Outgoing president of the University of South Alabama, Gordon Moulton, Actually ranks 36th on that list, with total compensation reaching over $643,000. His base pay makes up about 75% of that total.
Aside from deferred compensation, bonus pay and retirement can add a bump or two. Those colleges that issued statements about the pay say any compensations are a reflection of the performance of the president. Still, many would like to see more money go to the student, not the leader.
"Young people need help, financial help. So if they didn't make so much they could help the students that need help," says Louis Snow.
The other two presidents making over a million dollars were Ohio State University and George Mason University.