College Too Pricey? Don't Blame Faculty Pay

During a debate among the Democratic presidential candidates at Saint Anselm College in January, Charles Gibson, the moderator, used what he thought was a realistic example of a two-career academic couple at the small college in New Hampshire. Between them, he ventured during a discussion about tax policies, they would earn about $200,000 a year.

The audience met Mr. Gibson's statement with laughter and guffaws. Even some of the candidates told him he was off base â€” and they