The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has paid out nearly $300,000 in bonuses to its top staff members.
The performance bonuses total $287,500 and went to 35 top staff members and school presidents for work done last year. Most bonuses range from $3,000 to $12,000. MnSCU chancellor James McCormick received a $32,500 bonus.
MnSCU officials say criteria for the bonuses include improvement in student retention rates and an increase in the number of students who take math and science courses.
Leaders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees have opposed the executive bonuses and say they shouldn't be paid out when some union members face lay offs.
MnSCU officials defend the policy and say it's important to reward leaders who achieve their performance goals during tough economic times.