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Top CU Administrators Get Hefty Raises As Tuition Increases

BOULDER (CBS4) – Some University of Colorado parents and students are outraged after learning that money from a recent tuition hike is going toward hefty raises for top administrators.

Last year student tuition increased 9.3 percent. This year administrators are proposing another tuition hike. This one could be up to 15.7 percent, along with a second round of raises.

A $50,000 raise was one the largest salary increases on the books. CBS4 wanted to know why top administrators were seeing big raises at the same time families are being asked to pay more for their education.

CU student Nick Ramos paid his tuition in cash — dollar bills. It’s how Ramos protested the last tuition hike of 9.3 percent.

“They all jaw dropped, everyone came over and came over and couldn’t believe it,” Ramos said about when he delivered the dollar bills.

The 9.3 percent tuition increase also funded substantial raises for top administrators.

“This was the first time in 3 years that people got pay raises,” said Michael Carrigan, Vice Chair of the Board of Regents.

Carrigan says the raises came from an $11 million pool set aside from the tuition increase.

The university defends the raises, saying they need remain competitive in order to keep top talent. For example, CU-Boulder’s Chancellor Phil DiStefano got a $49,000 raise. He now makes about $389,000 a year. One top administrator saw a nearly $25,000 increase. And another got $20,000, and another $19,000.

“When you talk about someone like Chancellor DiStefano, he is running a billion dollar enterprise,” Carrigan said. “Anyone running a billion dollar enterprise in the private sector would be earning far more than Chancellor DiStefano.”

But now families will have to endure another tuition hike. One of several proposals on the table could raise tuition as high as 15.7 percent for the Boulder campus. That won’t work for one student.

“As big of an increase that they’re talking could really affect if I come here next year,” student David Standerfer said. “Hopefully they find it somewhere else besides our pockets.”

The Board of Regents says Colorado’s state funding for higher education continues to be 49th in the nation. Each year they get less money so they make up the gap by raising tuition.

The vote on this next round of increases will happen this March. CU regents say their school’s tuition increase last year was less than other schools in the state.


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