Big Paycheck, Little Trust

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports on the state’s highest paid employees. Six of the top 15 are college presidents or administrators. One is an offensive coordinator for a college football team.

For some observers, it’s an offensive situation as the costs of higher education skyrocket.

Here at the American Marketing Association’s annual Higher Education Symposium, the conversation started yesterday with a talk about Americans’ declining trust levels in government, business and media. The lack of trust in these institutions arguably gives colleges and universities greater trust to play an even larger role in addressing local, regional and national challenges.

But when obtaining a college degree typically saddles its earner with years of debt, excessive pay for administrators (and coaches!) undermines that trust. It creates a perception, fair or not, that institutions prioritize raising money, opening buildings and playing games over making college more accessible and affordable – a paramount issue for students and their families.

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