Taking a note from private businesses, the Arizona Board of Regents decided on Sept. 23 to give ASU President Michael Crow $40,000 in incentive pay and an increase of $20,000 for his housing allowance.
The incentive pay and housing allowance is part of the president’s overall salary, but the only way for Crow to receive the incentive pay is to reach certain goals set by ABOR.
These include finding ways to lower the cost of health care, presenting an in-depth strategy to attract students and research to the University and increasing student retention rates.
The goals are part of the Regents’ 2020 Vision plan to increase the number of people with college degrees and increase research funding. Increasing retention rates and attracting students and research are part of the three-year metric, ABOR Chairman Richard Myers said.
“With the three-year metrics, we are asking, ‘Are we really impacting the economy of the state with more students and more degrees?’” he said.
Myers said he wants state universities in Arizona to retain competitive salaries for their presidents.
“We are trying to have a salary where we aren’t paying the highest in the nation,” he said. “We want to be at a respectable level but nowhere near the top in the country.”
By reaching milestones set by ABOR, the presidents receive incentives. By not reaching these goals, they are essentially losing money from their potential salary, Myers said.
“By reaching certain milestones, they receive the variable compensation,” Myers said. “Having part of their pay be variable is becoming more common, and the incentive pay adds to their overall pay.”
The money used for funding the incentive programs comes from the state and out of students’ pockets.
“The money for the incentives is the same as operating budgets,” Myers said. “It comes from tuition and state money.”
Crow also received a raise in his housing allowance at the meeting. ABOR decided to raise the allowance by $20,000, and this is the first bump in Crow’s housing allowance in his 10 years at ASU, Myers said.
“The housing allowance is part of the overall compensation and is used for entertaining and meeting individuals whether they be educators or potential donors,” Myers said.
The president is working constantly to bring research and donor dollars to the University, Myers said, and his housing allowance helps with this goal.
Only 10 percent of Crow’s overall compensation is tied to these incentives, and if the goals are met, it means Arizona as a whole is better off, Myers said.
“If he achieves these goals, it means we are graduating more students, bringing in more research and generating more economic development, which is good for the state as a whole,” Myers said.
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication Sen. Alexis Kramer said if these incentive payments were to affect the student body in any way, the student governments would be the first to take action to avoid any tuition increases at all costs.
“The Undergraduate Student Government at the Downtown campus is working continuously to better serve students’ needs and concerns as we are their student government representation,” she said. “We want to better represent and serve students to make their Sun Devil experience memorable and importantly, affordable.”
The idea behind the incentives for university presidents is to push them to do more than the average person in their position, ABOR spokeswoman Katie Paquet said.
“Our presidents are managing large and complex organizations,” she said. “We incentivize them to go above and beyond to provide for the universities.”
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