U of M's president pick Kaler says salary is 'reasonable'

Eric Kaler
Eric Kaler answers questions during a public forum on November 17, 2010, at Coffman Memorial Union Theate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
MPR Photo/Nikki Tundel

The next president of the University of Minnesota says the contract he agreed to is reasonable.

Last week the university's board of regents voted to hire Eric Kaler as the school's next president. He'll be paid a base salary of $610,000 a year. He'll also receive $50,000 in retirement funds in second, third and fourth years of his contract.

Kaler says that may strike the public as a large number, but it's fitting for job running a major public university.

"The University of Minnesota is a big, complex institution. One of the biggest in the Big 10," he said. "My total compensation package is in the middle range for presidents in the Big 10. It's, I think, representative of the responsibilities that come with the job."

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Kaler's base salary is higher than current President Robert Bruininks' yearly paycheck of $455,000 a year. Add in retirement benefits though, and both men receive about the same compensation.

Kaler, who takes over as president next summer, also said the university's in-state undergraduate tuition rate is high compared to other Big 10 schools. One year of tuition and fees at the school costs just over $12,000.

Charging more for out-of-state tuition might be one place to raise revenue.

"The out of state tuition is low, it's among the lowest in the Big 10 so there's probably some room there," he said. "But I don't see a lot of room for tuition to go up."

Out-of-state students pay more than $16,000 a year in tuition and fees at the university. Students from Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota pay the in-state rate through a reciprocity agreement.