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.

  • Tom

    Most people are taking pay cuts right now just to keep their jobs and these clowns want more tuition money to pad their pockets?? Fire every last one of them including the chancellor….. My child will definitely not go to college at CU…..

  • Colleen.S

    I wish the people that are attending CU, realize they have all the power. They should enroll into another school because of the Rate Hike in intuition. The head of the school actually, in this Economy, think that not getting a raise in three years is deserving? They should, like the rest of the American working class, be glad they have a job….

    • Mykala Keuter

      Its not that easy, most schools won’t transfer our credits, which means if we go to another school it’s like starting from step 1 again. And CU is number one in the country for the best education for the price you are spending. I don’t disagree that this is ridiculous, but going somewhere else would put me years behind.

    • Katie

      Exactly what Mykala says. The reason they can do this is because we DON’T have any power. Once we are in, it’s not easy to get out.

      Plus, this is a nationwide problem. All schools have ridiculous tuition. My mom and dad brag about paying their way through college without loans. I don’t think it’s possible to do that anymore!

      I’m happy with the education I’m getting. That’s why it is so difficult to accept that it’s costing me thousands of dollars a year.

  • Janet

    This is crazy! People can’t afford this kind of increase. In K-12 education, we haven’t seen raises in years; instead our compensation is frozen and we are taking furlough days. And CU expects us to pay 15% in higher tuition – RIDICULOUS! What planet do these people live on?!?!

  • Mark Delgado

    I’m CU class of ’97, and a high school educator like Janet. I kid you not, just as I was reading this article, CU alum services called, hitting me up for money. At least the 25 bucks I pledged is going for something decent, like a history scholarship. Way to keep it classy, CU… Administrators’ salaries should be capped for 5 years, and tuition likewise. College should not be only for the richest in our society.

  • Nicole

    Carrigan’s excuse for these hefty raises on the backs of students is lame. I wonder did he really say that with a straight face? Is the disconnect that bad? I remember eight years ago at the Denver Democratic caucus when this guy was running for Regent. Somehow I don’t recall him running on a “bilk the students” platform. Yeah, he’s a Democrat…you’d expect this greed mentality from a Republican. It’s a sad country we live in. I can only imagine that this kind of thing happens all over the place.

    • Jason

      Actually it is no surprise he is a Democrat. They believe they are elitists and should be able to steal from tax payers and hard working people. Just look at Obama. He is constantly blaming the rich for our countries problem when in fact every rich person I know works their butt off. Instead Obama takes from the workers and gives the money to his buddies at companies like Solyndra so they can then steal it and declare bankruptcy. WAKE UP NICOLE!

  • Dolores

    Here’s another way they’re going to fund it: More seats for foreign students, lower admission odds for Colorado kids.

  • Sherry Buckner

    How disappointing that we think of our educators as wall street suits, to be retained over competition.
    Use the money to keep good teachers!
    Rewarding overpaid administrators when others have no jobs at all seems incredibly calloused to me, as does extreme tuition hikes in a terrible economy.
    Why aren’t we investing in educating our young, rather than playing this game?

  • Charles Mack

    Why can’t people see the need to limit all school top admin salaries to the AVERAGE of the teachers and professors salaries. Using a cap will help
    promote teachers salaries and lower the school budgets significantly!!
    Those administrations who resist such a cap can find a job elsewhere.

  • Sharon Smith

    As in private industry the top 1% say they need to pay their CEOs multimillion salaries to retain “top talent”. Aren’t there millions of talented citizens that would like to have these posh administrative positions. Of course, the persons with their actual hands in the money pot rationalize that they are the “top talent” whether they are school or hospital administrators or CEOs. The other employees are too busy teaching or helping patients to have their hands in the “pot”. Administrative costs are ridiculous and so is their cliched statement of “needing top talent”. The top 1% of organizations need some new cliches to justify their rip-offs of the middle class. Shame and soul-searching would be a good beginning!


    What a bunch of arrogant jokers. These punks give themselves raises and bonuses for coming up with ways to undermine the educational system for American students. These actions are nothing short of criminal and obviously these CU administrators feel comfortable joining forces with their fellow lawbreaking illegals. They make these decisions to destroy the educational system by disguising it as charitable and deserving. They have only one thing in mind and that is to make sure they get theirs. This absurd!

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