Presidents at Utah's colleges and universities are about to see a moderate hike in their take-home pay, as the Board of Regents approved up to a 5 percent increase for some.

The top administrators at Utah's institutions, however, still aren't making what presidents are making at comparable colleges and universities across the nation. The goal, said Interim Commissioner of Higher Education Dave Buhler, is to get the presidents to 90 percent of their peer averages.

"We try to chip away at it every year," he said, adding that currently, most presidents are at 85 percent of what others in similar circumstances make.

A variety of factors influence salary proposals, including the length of service and size of the institution, as well as duties required at the specific institutions. New recruitments provide an opportunity for more individual salary consideration, Buhler said.

Out of the 10 public colleges and universities in the state of Utah, as well as the Utah System of Higher Education, the highest pay will go to University of Utah President Michael K. Young, who also leads the largest institution in the state. His pay will increase 5 percent to $348,403. Mike King, who was recently selected to serve as interim president of the College of Eastern Utah, will receive the lowest pay for college presidents in the state, $141,844, which is a 3 percent increase from the last fiscal year.

Regent Nolan Karras said during the regularly scheduled board meeting Friday that he'd like to see an ultimate goal set for the presidential salaries, so "we're acting toward something.

"We've got some awfully fine presidents that we ought to be paying well," he said.

After enduring multiple adjustments by the executive committee before Friday's meeting, the new salaries were approved for the coming fiscal year and will take effect on July 1.


E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com