$427,000 University President: "College Unaffordability Due to Wealth Inequality"

$427,000 University President: "College Unaffordability Due to Wealth Inequality"
Susan Dutca-Lovell

Donald Farish, Roger Williams University's President earns over $425K annually and wants you to stop blaming colleges for higher education's unaffordability.

What accounts for college unaffordability? According to Farish, it is the "concentration of wealth at the top," or "wealth inequality", which is interesting coming from somebody making almost 10 times the average American worker's salary. He does not however, believe in the "concerns about salaries of some presidents and the cost of DI athletics" that "continue to attract attention." Donald Farish served as President of Rowan University from 1998 until 2011, with an average salary of $300,000 - plus a $15,000 annual bonus. Currently, he is the President at Roger Williams University at a salary of over $427,000.

Farish believes that "wealth inequality is an issue that must be addressed if America is to continue to have a strong and growing national economy." This is coming from a man whom Rowan University bought out at a cost of $600,000, in exchange for his early resignation. Such buyouts, according to Executive Director of the Common Sense Institute of New Jersey, are common but this one “cost the full tuition and fees of 25 students each year to cover the cost of the buyout" and calls the practice of compensating presidents on their way out "unfortunate".

According to Victor Fleischer's published report "Stop Universities from Hoarding Money", wealthy universities such as Yale spend their enormous endowments primarily on compensation for private equity fund managers - roughly $480 million. Compare that to the $170 million spent on tuition assistance, fellowships, and scholarships spent on students; all the while Yale continues to charge its students $45,800 in tuition, room and board. Fleischer claims that this trend - which pays private equity fund managers more than students - exists at Harvard, the University of Texas, Stanford, and Princeton. The problem is that "we've lost sight of the idea that students, not fund managers, should be primarily beneficiaries of a university's endowment. The private-equity folks get cash; students take out loans."

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