PALM DESERT, Calif. - The decision to give pay raises to presidents of two state colleges is coming under fire. The California State University Board of Trustees said it's necessary -- but some valley students disagree.
The board voted 11 to 3 to give pay raises to two CSU presidents, including the CSU East Bay and CSU Fullerton presidents. Now they'll each be paid more than $300,000 a year.
CSU officials tell us it's not necessarily a pay raise, but compensation for hiring the two new presidents to ensure the schools have the most effective leadership.
"That's a lot more than I make here at my job as a student assistant, doesn't even come close," Diona Payne, a nursing student at CSU San Bernardino.
CSUSB President Al Karnig said he agrees with the board's decision.
"If they were to replace me, I hope they pick the best person interested in the position and if that requires paying a little bit more, it'll be worth while," said Karnig.
Karnig told us that the role as president at any university comes with an incredible amount of responsibility and "having really good people in those roles is really very important."
However, that still didn?t sit well with students we talked with, who argue that with tuition increases and a budget crisis in the Cal State system, the pay raises are unfair.
"If it's suffering so much why are people getting pay raises when we're not getting any breaks as students?" said Payne.
After the system faced $750 million in budget cuts, trustees also decided to freeze spring enrollment for 2013 -- that's if the governor's tax initiative fails in November. Payne hopes that doesn't happen.
"A lot of us rely on the CSU system because it's the cheapest around," said Payne.
If the initiative doesn't pass, the CSU system would be hit with a $200 million budget cut -- $8 million in cuts for the CSUSB campuses alone.