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Published: Dec 04, 2016 4 min read
Shirley Ann Jackson, Donna Shalala, and Amy Gutmann were the three highest earning female presidents at private colleges in 2014.
Drew Angerer/Getty; John Parra/Getty; Alamy Stock Photo

Female students have outnumbered male students on college campuses for nearly 40 years, but there's still a gender pay gap at the highest level of academia.

Just three of the 25 highest-paid private college presidents are women, according The Chronicle of Higher Education’s latest report on presidential compensation published today. In the top 100 earners, there are 17 women.

Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, was the highest-earning woman and the fourth highest-paid president overall. She earned total compensation of nearly $3 million in 2014, the latest year for which data is available.

She’s followed by Donna E. Shalala, a former Clinton Cabinet official at the University of Miami, who ranks 11th overall, earning $1.6 million in 2014. Shirley Ann Jackson at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 19th overall, took home $1.3 million. (Full chart below.)

They are three of the seven female leaders of private universities who earned more than $1 million. Overall, 39 private college presidents reached the $1 million benchmark, up from 32 in the 2013 report.

Research in 2011 by the American Council on Education found that 24% of private university presidents were women, and 38% of chief academic officers were women. The numbers at public colleges were somewhat higher, with 30% of college presidents who are female and 48% of chief academic officers.

Overall, The Chronicle found that average compensation for private college presidents who served a full year in 2014 was $531,817, up 8.6% from the year before.

Compensation figures include salaries and bonuses; benefits such as housing, travel, and club memberships; and often deferred payments that are promised for future years as an incentive for presidents to stay in their role. On average, about three-quarters of private college presidents’ income came in the form of base pay.

The Chronicle published the latest data on the salaries of public college presidents earlier this year. For the 2014-15 academic year, the median pay was $431,000. Again, three of the top 25 earners were women.

The 10 Highest-Earning Female Private College Presidents

Overall rank President College Total Compensation Base Salary
4 Amy Gutmann Univ. of Pennsylvania $2,962,708 $1,216,096
11 Donna E. Shalala Univ. of Miami $1,570,761 $1,095,833
19 Shirley Ann Jackson Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute $1,331,172 $1,000,000
29 Barbara R. Snyder Case Western Reserve Univ. $1,154,775 $718,493
43 Drew Gilpin Faust Harvard Univ. $969,830 $810,884
58 Kimberly R. Cline Long Island Univ. at Brooklyn $859,494 $739,949
64 Nancy Cantor* Syracuse Univ. $823,959 $0
67 Mary E. Lyons Univ. of San Diego $775,790 $495,442
69 MaryAnn Baenninger* College of Saint Benedict $760,630 $643,331
71 Rebecca S. Chopp* Swarthmore College $751,512 $421,056

* These three presidents served in the roles listed for part of 2014 before starting—and earning a salary at—different colleges. When counting both of their jobs in 2014, each earned slightly more than $1 million in total compensation.