Maine college leaders not among top earners nationwide

LEWISTON — While an increasing number of leaders at private colleges are earning $1 million or more a year according to a national study, the leaders at Maine's top three colleges are not among them. 

Maine college presidents' compensation:

Colby: $695,000

Bowdoin: $470,000

Bates: $432,000

University of Maine System (chancellor): $280,000

Maine Community College System: $220,000

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

At Bates College in Lewiston, President Elaine Tuttle Hansen earned nearly $432,000 in 2008-09, the most recent year for which figures are available. At Bowdoin College in Brunswick, President Barry Mills earned just over $470,000. And at Colby College in Waterville, President William D. Adams earned just over $695,000.

Completed by The Chronicle of Higher Education, the annual survey looked at the tax documents of 448 private colleges and compared leadership compensation, including salaries, retirement contributions, bonuses, housing allowances and other perks. It found that 30 presidents earned $1 million or more, up from 23 presidents the year before. Most of the remaining presidents earned between $200,000 and $600,000.

Bowdoin and Colby set compensation in much the same way, with a board of trustees or a board of trustees' committee considering the president's experience or performance, the position's  requirements and how much leaders earn at comparable colleges.

A spokesman for Bates said compensation is a private matter between its Board of Trustees and its president. He said trustees consider a president's performance and length of time in office, but he declined to say whether Bates also looks at how much other college leaders earn.

"I can say that, as you can see from looking at the chart The Chronicle of Higher Education presents, the compensation for President Hansen is certainly in line with the level of compensation for her counterparts at similar institutions in Maine," spokesman Roland Adams said. "And I think probably if you look at the same types of institutions throughout New England and the rest of the country, you'd find it pretty much in line."

Past surveys by The Chronicle of Higher Education have shown that Bates, Bowdoin and Colby presidents typically earn similar amounts, though in 2008-09 the Colby College president's compensation package was worth $225,000 more than his closest Maine counterpart. A Colby representative said that was because the college hadn't in the past paid the president deferred compensation — a common type of compensation that's allocated now and given later — and Colby made up for that in 2008-09.

The Chronicle of Higher Education also looked at the compensation packages of the leaders at more than 250 public colleges and universities, though the education magazine did not rank them.

It showed University of Maine System Chancellor Richard Pattenaude earned just over $280,000 in total compensation in 2008-09. The president of the Maine Community College System, John Fitzsimmons, earned a compensation package worth $220,000. The pay of both leaders has been frozen in recent years, according to university and community college officials.

The chronicle did not look at the leader of every University of Maine or Maine Community College campus. University officials said their seven presidents earn between $130,000 and $230,000 a year in compensation. Community College officials said their seven presidents earn between $147,800 and $165,700. The pay of all university and community college leaders also has been frozen in recent years.

Officials at Maine's university system said its Board of Trustees sets compensation. It considers a leader's experience and how much leaders earn at other comparable universities. Officials from the community college system said they also consider a leader's experience. When a new campus president is hired, the system tries to set a salary that's in line with the existing pay of current presidents.

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 's picture

I don't agree

I don't think the public salaries are outrageous. These are CEOs of multi-million dollar organizations. A certain level of experience and education is necessary; public schools have to compete for leaders with private schools.

 's picture

The rich get richer

I suspect it has something to do with who's in charge. The rich are in charge. Democracy? No. ours is a so-called "republican" form of government, not a democracy. Tax rates, choices on how government contracts are awarded, and plenty of other things that affect the distribution of wealth and income are up to people who usually get elected by having plenty of cash for their campaighs to begin with. And with a recent decision by our beloved "Supremes" (the US Supreme Court) our corporations, the richest and most powerful forces in the country, can now exercise their free speech rights as "persons" and can spend enough to make sure their candidates get a more than fair hearing in election campaigns. Original intent? Strict constructionists?

If only the redistribution of wealth an power that is done by our governments could be as generous to the those with the lowest incomes as it is to those with the highest incomes, what a different world it would be. For example: set a minimum wage that is a livable wage.

 's picture


What would the saleries be if the government didn't pump so much tax payer money into the college system?

What would tuition be if the governement didn't pump so much money into the college system through loans and grants and aid?

What would the saleries and tuition be if these so called "non profits" had to pay taxes like most for proift business's?

Would we be saying that someone's salary is "JUST" $470,000?

A recent article about CMMC's head making 2 million dollars a year while the hospital is laying off and slashing wages and cutting vacation time for entry level wage erners should have people up in arms..

Maine has one of the highest numbers of "non Profits" operating in our state.. If A city like Lewiston was able to tax all busniess's equally the property taxes would drop to half of what they are now HALF!!

So our college presidents are not making as much as they do in other states? If the question is are they making not enough I say NO, the other presidents are making too much!!

There has to be a change in thinking in this country!


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