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June 01, 2012 11:00 AM Paying Community College Presidents

By Daniel Luzer

New Jersey has a new plan to improve community colleges: pay their presidents a standard salary. A report issued by the state comptroller, Matthew Boxer, Wednesday explained that,

There are no state standards or guidelines for college trustees to rely on when setting compensation terms for their president. As a result, there are huge disparities in not only the salaries of community college presidents, but other forms of their compensation as well. We’re not suggesting a one-size-fits-all approach, but it’s appropriate to set boundaries when schools are spending taxpayer dollars.

Base salaries range from a low of $134,990 a year to $259,969 annually. Additional expenses paid by the colleges to their presidents (housing allowances, meal allowances, travel expenses, tuition reimbursement) also differed widely and were often inexplicably lavish.

It’s actually pretty odd community college compensation isn’t already standardized. After allowing for differences based on enrollment size, aren’t the skills and knowledge required to administer one New Jersey community college more or less the same as those needed to run any other one?

Check out the report here.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer