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Public University Presidents' Pay Skyrockets, Student Debt Increases

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While it's not unusual for presidents of private colleges to earn large salaries, a new study recently found that nine presidents at public universities earned more than $1 million in taxpayer dollars in 2013.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education study, the median pay for the public university presidents surveyed was $478,896.

Gordon Gee was the highest paid when he was the president of Ohio State University. Gee made $6.1 million per year until he resigned in 2013 following his controversial comments about Roman Catholics, noted the Associated Press.

According to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies, during the time Ohio State University paid Gee his multimillion dollar salary, the school hired 498 contingent and part-time faculty. Student debt at Ohio State University went up 23 percent faster than the national average.

The Institute for Policy Studies study found that pattern to be true at the 25 public universities with the highest-paid presidents from 2005 to 2012.

The study also says that spending on administrative positions topped scholarship spending by more than two to one. By fall of 2012, contingent and part-time faculty outnumbered permanent faculty members.

According to the American Student Assistance organization, there are 37 million Americans with outstanding student loans and "more than $8 billion in defaulted private loans, or 850,000 distinct loans in default."

“The high executive pay obviously isn’t the direct cause of higher student debt, or cuts in labor spending,” Marjorie Wood, the co-author of the report, told The New York Times. “But if you think about it in terms of the allocation of resources, it does seem to be the tip of a very large iceberg, with universities that have top-heavy executive spending also having more adjuncts, more tuition increases and more administrative spending.”

Sources: American Student Assistance, Chronicle of Higher Education, Associated Press, Institute for Policy Studies, The New York Times

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