The University of Birmingham has spent more than £282,000 refurbishing the vice chancellor’s rent-free house.
Details of the expensive refurbishment can be revealed just a few months after Professor David Eastwood was listed as one of the highest paid vice chancellors in the country.
His 2010 pay rise took his salary, including pension contributions, up 11 per cent to £392,000.
The improvements to his grace-and-favour home, in Edgbaston Park Road, included new carpets, curtains, bathroom and the installation of a commercial kitchen.
But the university said the building was also classed as a shared facility that was used by the vice chancellor for university business.
They said the refurbishment of areas apportioned solely to Prof Eastwood amounted to just £15,378.30 of the £282,760.86 that has been spent in the last three years.
Last year the Post revealed the huge salaries and perks of the Midlands’ globe-trotting vice chancellors.
It was revealed that Aston University and Warwick also provides its vice chancellors with university-owned accommodation and that Prof Eastwood has his own chauffeur, gardener and cleaner.
The University of Birmingham said Prof Eastwood was provided with the accommodation as a requirement of the performance of his office.
It added: “Part of the building is provided for the vice chancellor’s sole occupation.
“In addition, a part is employed mainly for general university purposes but the vice chancellor has access to it as a shared facility.
“The refurbishment to the vice chancellors sole use accommodation amounts to £15,378.30. The cost of the refurbishment, decoration and improvements to the remainder of the house amounts to £267,382.56.”
“The figures relate to replacing carpets, curtains and other furnishings, interior redecoration, bathroom refurbishment, professional fees and the installation of a commercial kitchen.
The kitchen was requested by the university’s head of catering to enable it to be used for university-hosted events.
“It should also be noted that the property is situated within the Edgbaston Conservation area. This status does give rise to additional planning regulations and costs.”
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: “Sadly this is not the first example of vice chancellors living on a different planet to their staff, who face cuts to their pensions and potential job losses as a result of the Government’s funding cuts.
“The murky world of vice chancellors’ pay and perks is an embarrassment to the sector.”
A university spokesman said: “It is worth noting that Professor David Eastwood is the highly experienced head of a complex and successful organisation with a global reach.
“The university has around 28,000 students, 6,000 staff and a turnover equivalent to a large business contributing over £780million to the region.
“His remuneration needs to match his challenging and wide-ranging
responsibilities and the social and economic contribution that the university makes locally, nationally and internationally, which includes the high quality experience we offer our students.
“It is also worth noting that Professor Eastwood is a generous donor to the university.”
Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students, said: “At a time when vice chancellors are already pushing for students and their families to pay more to access their universities it is disappointing that they think it is acceptable to claim such luxuries.
“The Government has just announced another round of cuts to university funding and students cannot be expected to pay for these kinds of extravagances.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable launched a scathing attack on the salaries of vice-chancellors last year after describing them as being “out of touch with reality on pay levels.”
Mr Cable said: “It is critical that all of us who receive public funds to provide public services play our part in reducing the burden of public debt and restoring financial health.”