LA CROSSE, WI -

The heads of 10 University of Wisconsin schools will see some bigger paychecks next year.

The UW Board of Regents voted Thursday to award $80,000 in pay raises to 10 of the system’s 14 chancellors. The raises range in size from $6,000 to $10,500, with UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow receiving the highest.

But Gow isn’t just pocketing the cash. He said he will donate his entire raise – what would have been a 5.3 increase in pay – to his university’s scholarship fund.

Brent Smith, previous board president, said the raises are necessary to ensure UW System schools can compete with universities across the nation.

"For universities like UW-La Crosse to continue to do its job, you have to have strong leadership, and you have to have the ability to pay,” he said. "We have to be able to compete in that marketplace. Something the Regents did is at least a start to be able to compete."

Smith said during his 9 years on the Board of Regents, UW colleges lost several of their chancellors to higher paying institutions in other states.

"They all got job offers,” he said. “One of the issues is the pay, and we're on the lower end of things."

According to Gow, UW chancellors are paid on average 30 percent less than heads of other state colleges.

Both Gow and Smith asserted the pay raise shouldn’t stop with chancellors.

"It's imperative we do something about our pay for our faculty and our staff, or our schools are going to suffer from it,” Smith said.

Chancellors at UW colleges in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Oshkosh, Parkside, Platteville, River Falls, Stout, Superior and Whitewater also received raises.