LSU President F. King Alexander remains the highest-paid president of a public university in Louisiana and collects more than the national average, according to a report released Sunday.

Alexander's salary of $610,666 places him 62nd in pay among 251 college chief executives, the Chronicle of Higher Education says.

The national average is about $560,000, up 5 percent from the previous year.

Alexander, who has held his job since 2013, leads both the LSU system and its flagship campus.

Holding twin jobs more than justifies what he is paid, said Stephen Perry, chairman of the LSU Board of Supervisors.

"While the headlines often capture attention, it's important for the Louisiana public to understand that the LSU president manages a multi-billion dollar corporation with a major role at virtually level of post-secondary education, including law, medicine and agriculture with a presence in every parish in Louisiana," Perry said in an email.

Alexander declined comment on the group's latest tabulation of what presidents are paid.

Ernie Ballard, media relations director at LSU, made the same point as Perry.

"Dr. Alexander has an uncommon position in higher education — he actually holds two positions simultaneously," said Ballard, also in an email response to questions. "LSU is only paying for one salary, where other higher ed systems pay two salaries." 

The Chronicle of Higher Education prepares salary data yearly.

It surveys all public doctoral universities and state college and university systems or governing boards with at least three campuses and 50,000 students in all.

Others on the list from Louisiana colleges and universities are Ray Belton, president and chancellor of the Southern University system, $490,000; Joseph Savoie, president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, $360,818; Leslie Guice, president of Louisiana Tech in Ruston, $350,000; John Nicklow, president of the University of New Orleans, $325,000 and Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System, $190,169.

Belton declined comment. A spokeswoman for the president disputed the pay listed for Belton in the report and said it is $452,000, not $490,000.

Dan Bauman, a database reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education, said the $490,000 is based on information provided by Southern.

Bauman also said having one person serve as president of both the flagship campus and the system, like Alexander, is unusual but not unheard of.

State aid for colleges and universities has been trimmed by nearly $1 billion in the past decade.

The fact that the assistance has been frozen for the past two years, not reduced, was considered something of a victory for higher education advocates.

Alexander's pay has been static for the past several years.

His contract has been extended by the Board of Supervisors to 2021.

Perry, who lives in New Orleans, said Alexander has guided the school during turbulent times.

"Dr. Alexander has led LSU to historic achievements in student recruitment and student quality, and in the academic and graduation success of the most diverse student population in our history," Perry said.

The pay for Louisiana college presidents covers the period from July 1, 2016 until June 30, 2017.

A total of 12 college presidents were paid more than $1 million per year, in part through deferred compensation in which tax-deferred money is set aside until a specified date.

James R. Ramsey, who left his post a head of the University of Louisville, topped the list at $4.2 million followed by Auburn University's Jay Gogue at $1.8 million.

Southern University students will have to pay more this fall, board decides

The report is available at

Higher education, public school leaders make money pitch to key committee



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