The Chronicle of Higher Education tells us the median salary of public university presidents rose 4.7 percent in 2011-12 to more than $440,000 a year.
This increase vastly outpaced the rate of inflation, as well as the earnings of the typical worker in the U.S. economy.
Perhaps most relevant for this community, it also surpassed the compensation growth for university professors.
Moreover, the median statistic masks that several presidents earned more than double that amount.
Penn State University's Graham Spanier, best known for presiding over the worst athletic scandal in collegiate history, topped the list, earning $2,906,721 in total compensation. (He was forced to resign in November 2011 and was indicted in November 2012 on charges related to the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal.)
Spanier's package will get the attention. But the outrage should be spread around.
University presidents are becoming ever more plutocratic even as the students find it harder and harder to pay for their studies. University leaders claim institutional poverty as they enrich themselves.
A perennial leader of the highest-paid list, Gordon Gee of Ohio State University (more than $1.8 million last year), paid $532 for a shower curtain for the presidential mansion.
There appears to be neither rhyme nor reason for vast differences in presidential pay.
David R. Hopkins, the president of Wright State University - an unremarkable commuter school ranked rather poorly in major-magazine rankings - makes far more than the presidents of the much larger, and vastly more prestigious, University of California at Berkeley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, or the University of Wisconsin.
The four-year graduation rate at Wright State is 18 percent, whereas at Berkeley it is 71 percent.
The president of my college (Ohio University), Roderick McDavis, has seen the school's US News & World Report ranking fall considerably in his tenure of almost nine years.
But he made more in 2011-12 than Berkeley's Robert J. Birgeneau, who stepped down in 2012 after nine years as chancellor of the school ranked first in the US News list of public universities.
My associate, Daniel Garrett, analyzed the relationship between presidential compensation and academic performance for 145 schools, using the Forbes magazine rankings of best colleges. (Full disclosure: My Center for College Affordability and Productivity compiles those rankings for Forbes.)
Adjusting for enrollment differences, no statistically significant relationship was observed between academic quality and presidential pay.
I informally asked five college-educated friends: What criteria should be used in determining college presidential-salary increases?
I got five different answers.
One said that those most successful in fundraising should be rewarded the most (the argument often used to justify Gordon Gee's lavish pay and perks).
Another friend stressed the postgraduate performance of students.