Chancellor’s Salary Increase Signals Problem in Rising President Earnings

This pay increase comes at a time when students are more overwhelmed than ever over UC system fees. This July, the UC Regents will vote on a 6-percent tuition increase, which would lead to in-state undergrads paying nearly double what they paid five years ago, according to the UC Board of Regents report. This is especially painful after a 8-percent tuition increase this school year that already has students paying $1,818 more in tuition. However, university spokesperson Steve Montiel insists that the additional money for Khosla’s salary will come from “non-state sources.” These additional funds will be located within auxiliary funds, self-supporting services, and private donations, according to Montiel in a press conference.

UCSD’s situation is reminiscent of the infamous $100,000 salary raise Eliot Hirshman received when he became SDSU’s new president this past summer. With a salary of $400,000 a year, Hirshman became the highest-paid administrator in the CSU system, and a major source of controversy resulting in a letter from Gov. Jerry Brown voicing his disapproval. While Khosla‘s pay raise is far less than Hirshman’s, it brings up this troublesome trend of inflating administrator salaries as the public universities fall deeper into financial hardship. According to Andrew Hacker, co-author of Higher Education? How Colleges are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids – and What We can Do About it, president salaries at both public and private universities have nearly doubled since 1991. 

Khosla’s salary is certainly “modest” as Montiel put it, and is only a drop in the bucket compared to UCSD’s overall budget. But the dollar amount is not the concern, it is the principle of the matter. The fact that public universities continue to increase salaries makes a statement, even before a chancellor takes office. Granted, Khosla’s compensation is moderate compared to his public university counterparts — the median salary for presidents is $375,442 in 2009-2010, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. But when you look at Khosla’s, and many other university presidents’ salaries, they far exceed those of high profile public servants. Such as Kholsa nearly doubles Gov. Jerry Brown’s earnings, who has an annual salary of $212,179. He even beats President Obama’s 2010 salary of $395,188. It is a dramatic contrast between university administrator and public servant compensations that should signal a need to slow down on UC administrator pay increases.
Without a pay raise, Khosla would certainly not go uncared for. UCSD has supplied him with an annual auto allowance of $8,916, a house near campus to host fundraising events, and $100,000 over the next four years to help with his relocation. This money is important for Khosla to uproot his family and move them across the country to settle down.

We hope to see Chancellor Khosla thrive here at UCSD, but let’s not hurry to give him a pay raise before we see what he can do.