University president John J. DeGioia made $591,617 in the 2006-07 academic year, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education which is more than $60,000 above the median pay of a private research university president during the same time period.

The median salary of a public university president was $427,400 in the 2007-08 term, almost exactly $1,000 less than that of their private university counterparts. These are the most recent figures available and represent total compensation including bonuses and benefits. The numbers for private institutions lag one year behind those of public institutions due to availability of tax filings.

DeGioia was the second-highest paid president in D.C. coming in behind George Washington University’s former president, Stephen Trachtenberg who received $798,827. The lowest paid president in the area was Robert Davila of Gallaudet University, who earned $292,150.

When DeGioia took office in 2001 his total salary was $471,773. It jumped by over $100,000 the following year, before decreasing in the 2003-2004 school year by about $46,000. Since then his pay has been steadily increasing every year.

DeGioia’s base pay did not increase from the 2005-06 to the 2006-07 academic year, though he received $1,768 more in benefits from the preceding year. Former Georgetown President Leo O’Donovan received $468,000 before leaving his position.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education study of the Ivy League Universities, Columbia University’s Lee Bollinger was paid most at $1,411,894. The top paid president of any college was David Sargent of Suffolk University in Boston who received $2,800,461. He has worked for the university for 52 years.

Overall, the median salary for private university and college presidents rose almost 6 percent from the previous academic year. Many have criticized the high pay of university executives, in the light of the current economic downturn and rising tuition costs.

“In these hard economic times, apparently belt-tightening is for families and students, not university presidents,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley in a November 17 press release.

However, many presidents’ salaries, including DeGioia’s, were negotiated before the crisis began.

Some college presidents have chosen to decline payment. According to reporting by The Chronicle, this fall Michael Hogan of the University of Connecticut turned down a bonus expected to be worth around $100,000. Similar moves have been made by presidents at Rutgers University and the University of Louisville.

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