Tax forms show Webster president and provost received raises, bonuses


University tax documents revealed Webster President Elizabeth Stroble and Provost Julian Schuster received a combined $100,000 in bonuses during the 2015-2016 fiscal year (FY). They also received raises to their base pay compared to the 2014-2015 FY.

These figures are found in the 990 tax forms. This document covers tax information that Webster is required to submit as a non-profit organization. The 990 reports information from June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016, which is the 2015-2016 FY.

Graphic by Emily van de Riet
Graphic by Emily van de Riet

The Faculty Salary and Fringe Benefit Committee Administration Proposal for Academic Year 2015-2016 document reveals a faculty salary increase of zero percent. Instead, faculty were considered for a $500 one-time extra payment on a case-by-case basis.

The document was created on April 21, 2015 and was signed by Schuster, Salary and Fringe Benefit Committee then-Chairman James Brasfield and then-Faculty Senate President Gwyneth Williams.

Webster Director of Public Relations Patrick Giblin said as a matter of policy, the university does not comment about individual salaries.

The national average for faculty salary increase for the 2015- 2016 school year was 3.4 percent, according to the Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession from the American Association of University Professors.

In last spring’s article in The Journal about the 990 tax documents, Williams predicted if there were administrative pay raises or bonuses on this year’s 990, many members of the faculty would be unhappy. Williams said she believes the unrest would come from the fact that faculty received no budget raises in 2015-2016.

BonusesScreen Shot 2017-05-03 at 11.41.34 AM

Stroble received a $65,000 bonus in the 2015-2016 FY, and Schuster received a $35,000 bonus, totaling $100,000 between the two. Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence head coach Susan Polgar received a $37,500 bonus.

Stroble and Schuster’s bonuses decreased from the previous year. Stroble’s bonus decreased by $20,000 from her previous bonus of $85,000, and Schuster’s bonus decreased by $15,000 by his previous bonus of $50,000. Polgar’s bonus of $37,500 is the same as her previous year’s bonus.

Bonuses are also known as “incentive compensation” and “at-risk compensation.” They are used to keep valuable administrators and employees from leaving the university. According to the 990 document, compensation for Stroble and Schuster are determined and approved by the executive committee of the board of trustees.

The at-risk compensation awarded to Polgar is determined based on the criteria set forth in her contract. Bonuses are decided by Webster’s board of trustees. The pay is based on performance and given annually at the board’s spring meeting. The board of trustees approves the salary pool available for increases as for all employees as a part of the approved budget for the fiscal year, The Journal reported last year.


Despite the bonus decrease, Stroble and Schuster received a base salary increase during the 2015-2016 FY. Stroble’s base salary was $335,696, wScreen Shot 2017-05-03 at 11.41.25 AMhich is an increase of $7,060 from the previous year. This is a 2.15 percent raise. Schuster’s base salary was $274,570, an increase of $5,057 from the previous year. This is a 1.88 percent raise. Polgar’s base salary of $177,481 decreased from the previous year by $1,263. This is a .71 percent decrease.

The overall median salary increase for university administrators for the 2015-2016 FY was 2.1 percent, according to the Administrators in Higher Education Salary Survey Report from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. This puts Stroble only roughly .05 percent above the national median and Schuster .22 percent below the national median.

Total compensation

The total compensation of top-paid administrators factors in base salary, bonus and incentive compensation, other reportable compensation, retirement and other deferred compensation and nontaxable benefits.

The 990 tax documents revealed Stroble’s total compensation for the 2015-2016 FY was $539,048. This is an increase of $12,853, or 2.4 percent, from her total compensation the previous year. Schuster’s total compensation for the 2015-2016 FY was $357,006. This is a decrease of $9,774, or 2.7 percent, from his total compensation the previous year.

Highest-paid employees

The 990 documents reveal the compensation of the top nine highest-paid employees. For the 2015- 2016 FY, this includes: Stroble, Schuster, Polgar, former Chief Financial Officer Greg Gunderson, Vice President for Advancement Charles Hahn, Chief Information Officer William Freeman, Vice Provost Nancy Hellerud, Dean of the School of Communications Eric Rothenbuhler and Dean of Libraries Lara Rein.

Not counting Stroble and Schuster, the base salaries of the other top employees ranged from $141,530 (Rein) to $200,695 (Gunderson). The total compensations of these employees ranged from $173,940 (Rein) to $252,951 (Gunderson). No highest-paid employees besides Stroble, Schuster and Polgar received bonuses.

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