For the year, four college presidents were paid more than $1 million. That group includes one who was fired and who also happened to be the highest paid college president for the year.
Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier, who was fired in 2011 for his mishandling of child sex abuse scandal that involved a former assistant football coach, was paid $2.9 million for the year.
Spanier was president of the university for 16 years and his pay reveals more about the compensation system for college presidents than it does about Spanier's performance on the job. The Chronicle said college boards that value consistency are paying presidents generously for staying on the job.
As such, Spanier's tenure as Penn State president paid off, despite the abrupt end to his career.
The second highest paid college president for the year was Auburn University President Jay Gogue and his pay also reflects the trend in compensation packages for top ranking college officials.
Gogue earned a base pay of $482,070 but was paid a total of $2.5 million due to deferred payments, which are also used to encourage job retention.
The other two millionaire college presidents for the year were E. Gordon Gee at Ohio State University and Alan Merten at George Mason University, both of whom earned about $1.8 million.
The Top 10 also includes Jo Ann Gora at Ball State University ($984,647), Mary Sue Coleman at the University of Michigan ($918,783), Charles Steger at Virginia Tech ($857,749), Mark Yudof at the University of California ($847,149), Bernard Machen at the University of Florida ($834,562) and Francisco Cigarroa at the University of Texas ($815,833).
The median base pay for public college presidents for 2011-12 was $373,800. The median pay overall was $441,392, a 4.7 percent jump from the previous year, the Chronicle said.