By: Jared Scharf  | 

YU’s 2019 Tax Return Reveals Salaries of President Berman, Senior Officials

Yeshiva University’s Form 990 from the 2019 fiscal year, which discloses the salaries and compensation of President Ari Berman and numerous senior executives, was obtained by The Commentator.

Form 990 is an IRS form required for non-profit organizations, which provides its financial information for the general public. The form is due annually on May 15 and becomes publicly available soon afterward. 

In 2019, Vice President (VP) for Legal Affairs and General Counsel Andrew Lauer, former Senior VP Josh Joseph and Berman were the only executives on the form who made over $700,000, with Lauer breaking $870,000. Berman’s announcement last summer that he would take a 20% pay cut while other senior officials took between 5-10% will be reflected in the 2020 Form 990, which will be released next year.

Berman’s total compensation in 2019 was $745,683, which included a base salary just above $590,000 that was about $2,000 less than in 2018. That total also included an additional compensation of $2,386 and nontaxable benefits — which could include health insurance or retirement services — of $152,623. Additionally, Berman is provided with a $1.8 million parsonage house in Teaneck, NJ, which he has maintained since the beginning of his presidency. 

Lauer’s total compensation was $874,181 — over $170,000 more than in 2018 — ranking him the highest-paid senior staff member of 2019, followed by Berman. In 2018, his $700,000 compensation made him second behind Berman. Joseph, who left YU in 2020, saw an increase of more than $200,000 from 2018 to 2019, for an aggregate sum of $706,580. The 2019 tax record also noted that both Joseph and Lauer received $250,000 in deferred compensation from past years.

Vice Provost Selma Botman received a $50,000 raise in 2019, with a base salary of $400,000, compared to her 2018 base salary of $350,000. 

In contrast, some senior officials saw a decrease in pay. VP of Business Affairs Jacob Harman’s total compensation decreased from $663,860 in 2018 to $549,286 in 2019. Ahron Herring, the university’s chief investment officer, made slightly over $419,000 in 2019, nearly $100,000 less than in 2018. As of publication, YU did not immediately respond to The Commentator’s inquiries regarding these changes.

Aside from the listed senior officials, former President Richard Joel — who is the Bravmann Family University Professor and taught three courses at the Sy Syms School of Business in 2019 — continued to be on the top of the payroll in 2019. In addition to the university-owned residence, Joel continues to receive money from YU, this year with a total compensation of $428,283. In 2018, he made $665,889.

Joel’s total compensation averaged $1.16 million between 2009 and 2016, and was $2.5 million in 2013, rendering him the fourth-highest-paid executive in private college that year. Joel’s house, which he has maintained since the beginning of his presidency in 2003, cost $2.2 million and continues to be owned by the university. 

Asked about Joel’s high compensation, a YU spokesperson told The Commentator that “other than what is required by law to be disclosed in Form 990, the University does not disclose confidential salary or benefit information of individual employees.” 

The tax return also included information on YU’s finances in 2019. That year, YU spent nearly $2.4 million in advertising, about $130,000 less than in 2018. Similarly, travel costs decreased from about $3 million in 2018 to about $2.5 million in 2019.  It also showed that YU gave over $98 million in “scholarships & fellowships” to 3,921 students. YU did not respond to The Commentator’s inquiries regarding whether that was across all of its schools or only certain ones.

Sruli Fruchter contributed to this story.

Photo Caption: Joseph, Berman and Lauer (left to right) were the only senior officials who made over $700,000 in 2019.

Photo Credit: Yeshiva University