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Eric Barron Third Highest-Paid Public University Leader

The Chronicle of Higher Education published its 2018 compensation package report Sunday, which lists Penn State President Eric Barron as the third-highest paid public university leader in the nation.

The report indicates that Barron’s $1,834,364 annual salary trails only those of William H. McRaven and Michael K. Young of the University of Texas and Texas A&M, respectively. Barron is the best-paid Big Ten representative on the list — Ohio State President Michael V. Drake claimed the report’s ninth spot with a total salary of just over $1.2 million.

The annual sum includes a base pay of $834,000 and $1,000,000 in bonuses. Barron’s deal also includes nontaxable and retirement benefits. The contract’s pay-to-tuition ratio, according to the report, is 99 to 1.

Barron arrived in Happy Valley in 2014 after serving four years as the president of Florida State University. Penn State’s Board of Trustees recently awarded him a three-year contract extension that will expire in June 2022.

Barron’s third-place standing in the Chronicle’s report is a significant jump from his standing in 2016-17 survey, when he was ranked 11th with a total salary of 1,038,170.

Penn State presidents are no strangers to the Chronicle’s compensation survey, which fluctuates fairly drastically depending on contract payouts, severance packages, bonuses, and other single payments.

According to the system’s records, former President Graham Spanier topped the list in the 2011-12 cycle due to the $2,473,205 severance deal awarded to him after his resignation in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. Rodney A. Erickson was the highest-earning public college leader in the 2013-14 cycle, when he retired after three years at the helm of the university.

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About the Author

Jim Davidson

Jim is a junior English and history major and the features editor for Onward State. He, like most of the Penn State undergraduate population, is from 'just outside Philadelphia,' and grew up in Spring City, Pennsylvania. He covers a variety of Penn State topics, but spends nine months of every year waiting for the start of soccer season. You can reach him via email at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @messijim.


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