CORVALLIS, Ore. — A new study ranking executive compensation at public universities is out. It ranks Oregon State University President Ed Ray as the 20th highest paid public university president in the nation. But the Oregon University System says that’s wrong and is setting the record straight.
“The chronicle of higher education did make an error in terms of double counting some of those dollar amounts and that’s where the wrong info came out of $700,000 figure,” said spokesperson Di Saunders.
Saunders says Ray actually received $590,000 last year; $426,000 of that figure came from his salary. The rest came from his retirement benefits, which was where the mistake happened. Researchers tallied it twice.
“They changed the way they collected the data and sometimes when that occurs, that type of double counting errors can happen,” said Saunders.
Out of 212 public university executives in the study, that puts Ray in the middle of the rankings, as opposed to the top 20. He’s still the highest paid college president in Oregon, and his compensation is higher than the study’s reported median pay of $441,000 a year.
“College and university presidents are in a national field so salaries do need to be competitive with peer institutions in order to attract the best leaders that we possibly can,” said Saunders.
The Oregon University System says executive compensations are transparent. The state board of higher education approves all salaries and benefits in public meetings every year.