There has been much talk about the pay that university administrators receive, even though enrollment has fallen over the past three years, however, as state employees they are part of a pay raise agreement negotiated in the legislature.

Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education, Kevin McRae said the pay package extends to all state employees, including hourly, faculty, staff and administrators.

"All state employees in Montana, the university system, the executive branch of state government, the entire legislative branch, this month, January of 2016 and again in January of 2017, will be receiving pay raises as part of the state pay plan," McRae said. "University employees are state employees, too. The pay adjustments for the hourly staff will be 50 cents per hour this month and then again in 2017, and then for salaried, contract employees, including faculty, staff and administrators, the pay raise is two percent in 2016 and again in January of 2017."

Regarding the consternation by Montanans who consistently find themselves next to last in annual income throughout the United States, McRae said, comparatively speaking, Montana university administrators are paid significantly less than those in peer positions in other parts of the country.

"The salaries we're paying for those administrators after the pay raises take effect are somewhere between 60 to 70 percent of the national average," he said. "The average for a full professor at the university of Montana is about 72 percent of the national average. In Montana, I've also found that, looking at wage and hour data for state employees, that the average Montana per capita income was better than the national average."

For University of Montana President Royce Engstrom, with a 2 percent increase, his salary will increase by $6,093 to a total of $309,207, with another 2 percent increase in 2017.