The Board of Trustees sets the president’s compensation each year, adhering to basic principles that are commonly accepted best practices in higher education.  The board is guided by:

  1. Its fiduciary duty to the college.
  2. Adhering to the intermediate sanctions rule of the IRS which provides that organizations may pay no more than reasonable compensation—as determined by comparability data obtained from other institutions—to officers, trustees, and key employees, and imposes an excise tax on those persons who receive payment of unreasonable compensation and on those persons who approved it.
  3. A commitment to providing compensation for the president that is competitive within the college’s peer group.

The process of setting compensation for the president is as follows:

  • The Governance & Compensation/Assessment Committee reviews benchmark data along with the president’s performance against annual goals agreed to by the board and the president at the beginning of the academic year. The committee then makes a recommendation to the Executive Committee on compensation for the upcoming year.
  • The Executive Committee reviews the recommendation and presents the recommended compensation to the full board in executive session.
  • The Board of Trustees votes on a resolution setting the president’s compensation for the year.

The benchmark data consists of comparative information from other institutions. This comparative group was developed with the assistance of an outside consultant, Quatt Associates, with expertise in presidential compensation in higher education. This group includes institutions similar to Ithaca College in size, operating budget, complexity of programs, and number of employees (faculty and staff).

Components of Compensation

In addition to salary, there are a number of other components that make up the total annual compensation for the Ithaca College president. A deferred compensation plan is a standard part of presidential compensation packages in higher education because it offers tax advantages. It is typical to see an unusually high compensation figure for the final year of a president’s contract period, because that final year reflects a combination of that year’s salary and the vesting of accumulated deferred compensation over that contract period.

As is the case with presidents at the majority of colleges and universities in the United States, housing traditionally has been provided to Ithaca College’s president, with the understanding that the president’s residence also will be used to host college functions. Expenses for college functions are paid for by the college; all personal expenses are the responsibility of the president.

The president’s contract has also historically provided for:

  • the use of a car;
  • expenses related to the use of a home office; and
  • the standard benefits package provided to all IC employees (medical, dental, vision, etc.).

Information regarding compensation for the president is available on IRS Form 990, a public document that the college files annually. An explanation of Form 990, along with the most recent filings of it, can be found on the Division of Finance and Administration website.