Pay raises approved for Georgia college presidents

Georgia’s Board of Regents approved pay increases Tuesday for leaders of the state’s public colleges and universities, pushing total compensation for two presidents above $1 million.

Bud Peterson at Georgia Tech and Mark Becker at Georgia State, research universities, are slated to receive sizable “retention” bonuses over the upcoming months to ensure they stay in their jobs longer.

The increases come a month after after the Regents increased tuition for the upcoming school year between 2.5 percent and 9 percent for students at all 30 of the system’s campuses.

Becker will receive a $500,000 increase to his salary, which is about $535,700, next month. To keep the bonus incentive, Becker must stay on as president at Georgia State through July 1, 2016, system officials said. The additional pay will increase his total compensation to about $1.07 million. In order to renew the incentive for the next year, Becker must stay on through July 1, 2019.

Becker’s salary incentive is funded entirely through the university’s foundation.

Peterson will receive almost $320,000 in increased compensation, making his total compensation about $1.09 million. His base salary increased $220,000 to about $661,400. Peterson’s deferred compensation also increased $100,000 to $416,000.

The presidential increases were developed by University System Chancellor Huckaby, who received a 3 percent pay incense from the Regents on Tuesday. Under Huckaby’s approved recommendations, most of the remaining institution presidents will receive salary increases between 3 percent and 10 percent. Most of those increases will be funded by the University System, but a portion of Peterson’s increase will be paid by the university’s foundation.

“Higher education has become a competitive market for leaders. We compete for the best and we want to keep them,” Huckaby said Tuesday.

Jere Morehead, president of the University of Georgia, also a research institution, will see his compensation increase about $170,000 for fiscal 2015, which ends June 30. The additional funds will be split between deferred compensation and his base salary, bringing Morehead’s total compensation to about $811,300.

System officials lauded research presidents for their work attracting top talent and about $1 billion in annual research funding, and being nationally ranked in areas such as student retention and graduation.

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