University System of Georgia

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Regents Approve Policy Changes in Presidential Compensation

Atlanta — August 3, 2004

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia completed its plan today to make state funds the sole source of pay for the state’s 34 public college and university presidents by formally approving final refinements to its policy on presidential compensation.

The Board of Regents initially approved moving all salaries and benefits paid to presidents from private to public funds at their June 2004 board meeting. Following that action, they directed University System officials to finalize the mechanics needed to enact the change and to recommend the required policy amendments to the Board for their final approval.

Under the changes to Board of Regents’ Policy 208, the source of all presidential compensation now will be state funds, eliminating the salary contributions previously received from privately funded, university-affiliated cooperative organizations. Currently, the foundations of seven University System institutions provide the presidents of the institutions they support with supplemental salary and, in some cases, executive or deferred compensation. All System presidents are eligible to continue receiving non-compensation, job-related expenses from institution-affiliated cooperative organizations. The new policy will be retroactive to July 1, 2004.

“We are forging new ground in higher education with this decision,” said Board Chair Joel O. Wooten. “Restricting presidential compensation solely to state funds is the right thing to do for the University System of Georgia, for our presidents and for the state. In the future, there will be no question that our presidents work for and report only to the chancellor and the Board of Regents.”

Prior to authorizing the policy change, the Board of Regents heard from Raymond D. Cotton, vice president of Higher Education with the Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm ML Strategies and an expert on higher-education compensation issues. Cotton briefed the regents on how best to evaluate current trends and practices nationally in presidential compensation and made benchmark-based recommendations to the board regarding the source of compensation for presidents of the University System of Georgia.

“By the actions you have taken over the past couple of months, you have become the first system in the nation to move presidential pay wholly to state funds,” Cotton said. “No other public higher education system is doing this and you are to be commended.”

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