by Robert Kittle
Students and their parents struggling to pay for rising tuition at USC, Clemson, and MUSC now have a better idea of where some of their additional money is going: pay raises for administrators, professors and coaches.
Almost 1,700 people at those three universities make $100,000 or more.
The figures come from the state Budget and Control Board's online database of state employees making at least $50,000 a year.
Click here to see salary lists.
Last year, the number of employees making $100,000 or more went up by 37 percent at Clemson.
Chief Public Affairs Officer Cathy Sams says, "Salary adjustments may reflect performance-based raises, promotions, a change in assignment from nine- to 12-month appointments, reclassifications or additional duties."
She, along with spokespersons for MUSC and USC, say a mandatory three percent pay raise for all state employees, passed by the state legislature, also moved a lot of people who had been just under the $100,000 mark up to it or over it.
Sams says Clemson is also trying to recruit and retain talented faculty and staff, which requires competitive pay.
The number of people making more than $100,000 at USC went up by 14.5 percent last year.
USC spokesman Wes Hickman says USC is in the middle of the "Faculty Replenishment Initiative", so the university has hired more than 250 new faculty members in the last two years.
"There's no doubt about it that investing in faculty, investing in that classroom experience, trying to improve that for students and build upon the success that we've had, it does cost some money," He says. "A great bulk of the new tuition dollars this year are going to faculty costs, going to classroom costs, the library, and then actually a large part to law enforcement as well. So I think parents and students will tell you that we're investing in the right things."
And while he understands that parents and students may be struggling with rising tuition, he says the most recent increase was only three percent, which is the lowest in 12 years.
The highest-paid person at the three universities is USC athletics director Ray Tanner, at $525,000. Second is MUSC vice president for finance and administration Lisa Montgomery at $405,313. Third is USC health services policy and management professor Jay Moskowitz at $402,999.
Coaches often make more than their university salaries. For example, USC head football coach Steve Spurrier's university pay is $350,000, but he makes much more than that from endorsements and media deals. Only the state salary is listed in the database.