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Regents Say Keeping Pay of Presidents Competitive is a Challenge


Keeping the pay of the state’s three public university presidents competitive is a challenge, members of the Iowa Board of Regents say.

A national report released on Monday showed the minimum pay for top public research universities now exceeds $450,000.

The regents, who set salaries for presidents at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa, said they are worried about the rising salaries because they want to be competitive to retain the three presidents.

“The competition absolutely is increasing,” said Regent Bob Downer. “While I understand that talented people are entitled to be well paid, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, at the same time it is very hard to keep up when everybody is trying to get the jump on everyone else.”

Iowa President Sally Mason’s base salary was set at $450,000 when she was hired in June a large increase compared to her predecessors.

Mason’s total package is $560,000; Iowa State President Greg Geoffroy’s is $473,316; and University of Northern Iowa Ben Allen’s is $425,000.

Last year, 56 of the 182 public universities in the national survey paid their president at least $450,000, and it’s the minimum that “big players” are expected to spend, according to the annual report by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The higher salaries are the result of increased competition, due in part by the growing number of presidents reaching retirement age.

“It’s a matter of demand for experienced, qualified candidates outstripping the supply,” said David Miles, regents president pro tem. “We’re at a period of turning the page in terms of the number of our presidents approaching retirement age.

“There’s lots of us out there scrambling for a limited pool.”

Information from: The Gazette,

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