A 50-State Look at U.S. CEO Pay Compared With Tuition Expenses

Income inequality and student debt loom large on the U.S. presidential campaign trail. Middle-class Americans are struggling to tackle soaring tuition costs after wage growth largely went to top earners such as corporate executives.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon pledged Tuesday to raise the lowest wages at the nation's largest bank to help address the broader challenges. 

We created an index that calculates just how far corporate leaders' money would go if it were dedicated to funding the tuition bills of young Americans.

Click to open the chart as a PDF.

We compiled pay packages awarded in 2015 to the highest-paid executive team at publicly traded companies in each state. Typically, that meant five or six people per business. In all, we tallied 284 executives with an aggregate reported compensation of $2.9 billion -- enough to cover four years of in-state tuition for more than 74,000 students across the country.

Their average annual pay package totaled $10.2 million. The median household income in the U.S. in 2014 was $53,657, and average annual public-school tuition at four-year institutions is $9,410.

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