A report from public watchdog Open the Books shows higher education institutes across Florida got $9.6 billion from the federal government in the 2017-2018 fiscal year–and a large part of that went to pay for high salaries.
In the report, Adam Andrzejewski, the CEO and founder of OpenTheBooks.com and a Forbes.com columnist, notes that Florida placed fourth in the nation and received $5.6 billion in student loans.
“It’s amazing the amount the government is spending on student loans, but what is disturbing is the amount Florida colleges are paying out in salaries,” he told Florida Daily.
Andrzejewski found public colleges and universities in Florida had more than 13,300 employees with six and seven-figure salaries, costing taxpayers $2.5 billion. These employees included coaches, presidents, professors, administrators and others.
The University of Florida paid out 3,234 six-figure salaries – the most of any university in the state. The highest paid earners were the Vice President of Health Affairs David Guzick ($1.2 million) and Director of the Graduate Tax Program Martin McMahon ($780,392).
Other Florida universities paid huge salaries, including President John Hitt of University of Central Florida (UCF) who made $898,092 before resigning last year as questions about spending circled around the administration.
Former President of Florida A&M University Elmira Mangum made $638,907 in 2017. Randy Avent, the president and founder of Florida Polytechnic, received $478,850. Wilson Bradshaw of Florida Gulf Coast earned $425,823 – although he retired on June 30, 2017 – while his successor, Mike Martin, brought home $392,718.
According to the report, Florida junior colleges also paid out huge paychecks.
Sanford “Sandy” Shugart, the president of Valencia Community College president, pulled in $386,576. Kenneth Atwater, the president of Hillsborough Community College, made $324,617 and James Murdaugh, the president of Tallahassee Community College, received $304,834.
University of South Florida Vice President of Alumni Relations and foundation CEO Joel Momberg made $897,279. Florida Atlantic University Medical Science Professor John Newcomer made $560,638. University of North Florida Dean Mark Tumeo made $550,841 while University of West Florida Provost George Ellenberg made $423,545.
Andrzejewski also points out that Division I colleges and universities awarded huge salaries to coaches.
Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) head football coach Lane Kiffin received $436,781 while former FAU former head football coach Charlie Partridge made $294,784 in 2017. Florida International University head football coach Butch Davis took home $737,931. While new Florida State University (FSU) football coach Willie Taggart will receive $5 million per year and UF football coach Dan Mullen makes $6 million per year, taxpayers fund just a small fraction of these salaries.
Contact Ed at Ed.Dean@FloridaDaily.com.