Arizona State University President Michael Crow’s paycheck is one of the largest in all of higher education.
And while ASU’s top executive does not earn anywhere near the million-dollar salaries garnered by presidents at some elite private universities, his $609,194 compensation package is good enough for 14th among leaders of public universities. The Chronicle of Higher Education on Monday released its annual survey of university executives’ pay, this year showing that the number of presidents earning more than $500,000 a year has rocketed.
Crow and Robert Shelton, president of the University of Arizona, are among them. Shelton is paid $570,020, a figure that includes allotments to cover his car and housing expenses, plus retirement contributions and deferred compensation.
In August of last year, Crow signed a three-year contract that pays him $440,000 a year in base salary, $8,394 for a car and $50,000 for housing, said Anne Barton, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Board of Regents.
While many universities spend millions to purchase extravagant homes outright for their top executives, ASU provides funds to cover the annual cost of Crow’s $1.2 million Paradise Valley home, which Maricopa County records show he purchased in 2002.
ASU’s president also nets $60,800 a year in deferred compensation and retirement benefits. Lastly, Crow is paid $50,000 a year by the ASU Foundation, an independent fundraising organization.
The Chronicle’s survey results come as Arizona’s universities contemplate tuition increases.
Crow has proposed a 9 percent jump in tuition and fees; student organizations are calling for additional funding from the Legislature to prevent a cost increase.
The regents are scheduled to set next year’s tuition and fees Nov. 30 in Tucson.
The size of Crow’s salary is not a concern or surprise to students, said Ross Meyer, president of ASU’s student government. “There’s never a revolt or anything.”
Crow declined to comment on his pay, referring questions to the regents.
Nationwide, for the past several years university executives have enjoyed massive pay raises as their institutions have become far more expensive to attend, drawing criticism from parents’ groups and state and federal lawmakers.
ASU had the country’s sixth largest college enrollment in 2004, the last year data was available for the entire U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In Crow’s four years leading the university, it has established a new campus in downtown Phoenix and bulked up academic offerings.
When considering how much to pay its presidents, regent Ernesto Calderón
said he and his colleagues do not consider the Chronicle’s survey results.
Instead, he said compensation is based on performance. “To those that much is given, much more is expected,” Calderón said.