Updated 10:37 p.m.
Dean of the College Valerie Smith received $733,380 in recruitment incentives since she came to the University, according to a review of the University’s latest tax filings.
The figure, including a mortgage and a recruitment loan, is higher than the amount loaned to any of the University’s listed “interested persons” other than those who work for the Princeton University Investment Company, which manages the endowment.
“Interested persons” are defined on the tax filings as all officers, directors, trustees, key employees, highly compensated employees or disqualified persons.
Top PRINCO administrators are usually the highest paid employees of the University.
As a tax-exempt organization, the University is required to file a yearly return to the Internal Revenue Service, called a 990 form, that discloses a number of details regarding internal finances.
Though it is unclear when she initially received the loans, the amount of Smith’s recruitment incentives only became public now, since the University’s most recently-filed 990 covers the 2011-2012 academic year, when she began her tenure as dean. In previous 990 forms, Smith had not been listed as an “interested person.”
Smith received a “recruitment loan” of $240,000 and a mortgage for $493,380 from the University.
In contrast to her comparatively high recruitment benefits, Smith’s total compensation for fiscal year 2012 ranked her only 20th among the University’s highest paid employees with $374,985.
Smith declined to comment for this article.
University spokesperson Martin Mbugua said the purpose of such recruitment loans and mortgages is to incentivize faculty members to come to Princeton.
“In order to attract the best faculty to Princeton, we offer recruitment incentives that include research assistance, laboratory equipment, loans and sabbatical leave,” University Spokesperson Martin Mbugua said. “These incentives have been provided to a number of our faculty members.”
Smith came to the University in 2001 and bought a house in 2007 for $933,380, according to Mercer County property records.
Mbugua declined to discuss specifics of the loan, such as the interest rate, citing personnel confidentiality matters. He explained that the terms “would vary from loan to loan.”
Smith’s house was previously owned by the University.
While several top administrators have received mortgages from the University, Smith is the only one currently listed as having also received a recruitment loan.
The average mortgage loan received by the University’s key employees — the 10 it listed on 990 form for Fiscal Year 2012— was $479,636 for fiscal year 2012, slightly lower than the mortgage Smith received, not counting the recruitment loan.
Mbugua said he did not know the percentage of faculty members who are offered recruitment incentives, but he said that the exact incentive is determined based on the specific circumstances of each recruitment process.
The only other University employee to receive a recruitment loan in recent years was economics professor Jose Scheinkman, whose $300,000 recruitment loan was reported in the 2009 990 form.
Scheinkman said he had retired from Princeton and did not respond to further questions. He is now a professor at Columbia.
Smith’s balance due on the two loans combined is currently $557,800, according to the filings.
As Dean of the College, Smith is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the undergraduate academic curriculum, and oversees numerous other departments, including the Office of Admission.
Smith’s predecessor, current history professor Nancy Malkiel, became the public face behind the expansion of the residential college system and the University’s controversial grade deflation policy during her 24-year tenure as dean.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article stated that Dean of the College Valerie Smith received $733,380 in recruitment incentives in 2011. In fact, it is unclear when the mortgage and recruitment loans were issued, as the information only became public after she became dean, which made her an “interested person” for tax filing purposes.