The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ayers receives more than $1 million in compensation

University of Richmond President Ed Ayers was one of 36 U.S. private university presidents to make more than $1 million in compensation in 2012, according to a report released last week by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Ayers earned $1,008,770 in total compensation in 2012, according to data from the University of Richmond's Form 990, a federal tax form, filed in May 2013. All nonprofit organizations that are exempt from paying taxes are required to file a Form 990, except for churches and church-related organizations.

"High [presidential] salaries have come under scrutiny lately because of higher tuition and higher student debt rates," said Jim Monks, professor of economics in the Robins School of Business. Monks, whose research focuses on the economics of higher education, said private university presidents tended to make more than their counterparts at state schools, though executive compensation at all types of universities had patterned with increasing corporate executive compensation.

Of Ayers' total compensation, less than half was paid as salary, which for 2012 was $481,764. The rest of the compensation came from the value of the President's House and its associated maintenance costs, health and dental benefits and a $250,000 payout from a deferred compensation plan that Ayers paid $50,000 into when he assumed office in 2007.

Ayers' compensation ranked first among Virginia private university presidents and 35th nationwide. It also ranked higher than all Virginia's public university presidents and all but four public university presidents nationwide. In 2011, Ayers earned $745,289 in total compensation, ranking him second among Virginia's private university presidents and 68th nationwide.

Subtracting the one-time deferred payout, Ayers’ compensation increased by about $13,000 from 2011, which reflected a university-wide increase in employee salaries, said Cynthia Price, university spokeswoman. The compensation committee of the university’s board of trustees decides Ayers’ compensation, Price said.

Ayers' base salary is about 3.5 times the median salary of full professors, according to analysis from the Chronicle report.

"If you want to attract and retain high-quality talent, you're going to have to pay for it," Monks said.

Ayers declined to comment for this article.

Contact reporter Ben Panko at

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