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Northern Arizona University President Rita Cheng will be getting a bonus in her Christmas stocking this year from the Arizona Board of Regents. This year Cheng will receive the largest bonus out of the three state university presidents: $180,000 on a base of $390,000.

This year, Arizona State University President Michael Crow and former University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart will receive a $25,000 bonus and ABOR President Klein will get $20,000.

Cheng will be getting $180,000 because she had a larger number of goals to meet than the other presidents, according to materials provided to the ABOR Executive Committee. In order to receive her at-risk compensation this year, Cheng had to provide a written plan on the future of NAU’s remote campuses and distance learning programs, reach a 75 percent freshman retention rate, increase research expenditures and the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded and increase the number of community college transfers, among other items.

“Achieving these goals set by the Regents is important for the future of our university and provides a clear direction from our governing board related to expectations and outcomes,” Cheng said in an emailed statement to the Arizona Daily Sun. “I came to NAU to ensure we are achieving our goals to provide access to an affordable, quality, education, and that our students are successful in the classroom and in life once they graduate. I am proud that our success is being recognized.”

Subtracted from each president’s bonus, including Cheng’s, was $15,000 for serving on ABOR’s Enterprise Executive Committee. The committee is supposed to evaluate the current core classes at each university and make recommendations to Board of Regents on ways to improve the quality of the classes for students. This year, ABOR’s Executive Board voted 4 to 3 against approving the bonus for this committee. Many of the board members stated during the meeting that they felt that not enough progress had been made by the Enterprise Committee to justify the bonuses.

ABOR approved the “at-risk compensation” for the state’s three university presidents and ABOR President Eileen Klein during a special meeting Wednesday. The compensation is based on performance on a set of goals that is set each year by the Board of Regents Executive Committee.

The committee reviews the performance of each president and then votes to determine if they’ve earned the at-risk compensation amount set by the committee for each goal.

The reporter can be reached at or (928)556-2253.


Education/Business Reporter

Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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