In 2009, as the effects of the recession made student loans harder to get and some families began questioning their ability to afford a college education, private college presidents who were there for a year or more were making more than a quarter of a million dollars.

Two -- Richard Levin of Yale University and John Lahey of Quinnipiac University -- made well over a million dollars. They are among 36 college presidents across the country who made more than $1 million in 2009

The salaries were listed as part of an annual report issued by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The salaries were culled from forms colleges submit for income tax purposes. The salaries of public college presidents, such as Susan Herbst, of the University of Connecticut, are not included.

Nationwide, Levin, of Yale, had the ninth highest salary in 2009, behind presidents at Drexel University, John Hopkins, Vanderbilt and Mountain State University in West Virginia. Levin has been at Yale since 1993.

Lahey, at Quinnipiac since 1987, came in 27th nationwide.

In response to this year's survey, Quinnipiac University released a statement saying it generally doesn't comment on salaries or other personnel matters. Lahey's base salary was $760,706 plus $398,316 in other pay and $24,500 in deferred compensation.

In 2008-09, when Lahey's total compensation package was $1,845,427, Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs, said Lahey's base salary in 2009 was $760,706.

"The higher reported total compensation number resulted from a large one-time reimbursement for major repairs and renovations to the president's 23-year-old house which is used extensively for university events. Accounting rules require that these reimbursements be treated as personal income against which taxes must be paid," the university stated.

The Chronicle report said that most of the 519 private college presidents surveyed made between $200,000 and $600,000, with a median in 2009 of $385,909, an increase of 2.2 percent from the previous year.

Connecticut salaries ranged between Levin's $1.6 million and the $287,693 made in 2009 by Neil Salonen, president at the University of Bridgeport since 2000.

Also on the list is Anthony. J. Cernera, who abruptly left Sacred Heart University in 2010. In 2009 he received $827,375, which included $414,240 in bonus pay, $26,089 in other pay and $77,888 in deferred compensation.

The Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, president at Fairfield University since 2004, made $374,572, but turned his entire salary over to the Jesuit community. In addition, he has not taken a salary increase in three years, said Margaret McCaffrey, a university spokeswoman.

Salaries for other presidents in the state were:

James F. Jones Jr., Trinity College, $614,809

Walter Harrison, University of Hartford, $592,317

Steven H. Kaplan, University of New Haven, $527,314

Michael S. Roth, Wesleyan University, $476,177

Leo I. Higdon Jr., Connecticut College, $474,211

Pamela Trotman Reid, St. Joseph College, $319,064

Contact Linda Lambeck at 203-330-6218 or lclambeck@ctpost.com. Follow her at twitter.com/lclambeck