The executives who head for profit colleges are incredibly generously compensated, it turns out. According to an article by John Hechinger and John Lauerman at Bloomberg News:

Strayer Education Inc., a chain of for-profit colleges that receives three-quarters of its revenue from U.S. taxpayers, paid Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Silberman $41.9 million last year. That’s 26 times the compensation of the highest-paid president of a traditional university.

Top executives at the 15 U.S. publicly traded for-profit colleges, led by Apollo Group Inc. and Education Management Corp., also received $2 billion during the last seven years from the proceeds of selling company stock. John G. Sperling, Apollo’s 89-year-old founder and executive chairman, received $263.5 million from stock sales during the last seven years. Robert B. Knutson, retired CEO and chairman of Pittsburgh-based Education Management… got $132.4 million. Dennis Keller and Ronald Taylor, former co-CEOs of DeVry Inc….collected $110.4 million in stock proceeds.

Meanwhile, the industry registered the worst loan-default rates and some of the worst completion rates of all colleges. Their customers are among the poorest college students in America.

The nation’s highest-paid traditional college president, Shirley Ann Jackson of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, earns a mere $1.6 million a year.

The median salary for a college president in the United States is $240,356.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer