Published: April 10, 2013


The University of Colorado Board of Regents on Tuesday, April 9, voted to increase tuition at each of CU-Boulder’s campuses for the 2013-14 academic year. The following fact sheet explains how tuition functions to fund the university’s main academic mission and offers some explanations on commonly asked questions about tuition and CU finances.

-- The tuition increase approved by the regents at their public meeting on April 9 was twofold: a rate increase of 1.9 percent, and what is called a “linearity shift” from 11.25 hours to 12.00 credit hours. That means a full-time student will pay for every credit hour up to 12 hours, up from 11.25 hours, but the rest of his or her credit hours up to 18 hours are free.

-- The two increases will mean that a student taking less than 12 credit hours will see a $7/credit hour change in their tuition.  For students taking 12 credit hours or more the total increase for the 2013-14 academic year is $704. 

-- The tuition increase was approved to pay for a modest increase in expenses next year.  The university’s cost of instruction is increasing 3.4 percent. This increase includes the salaries for faculty and staff, health care costs, deferred maintenance, compliance, utility increases and other  basic expenses, which grow each year. At the April 9 meeting of the Board of Regents, a 3.1 percent merit salary pool was approved for faculty and professional exempt staff at CU-Boulder. For our classified staff at CU-Boulder, this money also pays for a long-deserved and legally mandated pay increase that includes a 2 percent cost-of-living increase, with the possibility of an additional increase of up to 1.6 percent based on merit.

-- Tuition does not pay for, the CU recreation center upgrade, the direct costs of curtailing the 4/20 gathering on the campus, and will not fund proposed new facilities upgrades for intercollegiate athletics.

-- Resident tuition is not our first resort when balancing the budget. Non-resident tuition comprises two-thirds of our revenue and continues to subsidize the education of our resident students. In addition, the university cut its expenses by $11.5 million during FY 2014 and is continually looking for ways to streamline and become more efficient. Nobody likes to raise tuition, and President Benson made that point at the Board’s meeting on April 9. However, the state of Colorado has, over the last four decades, cut its support for higher education down to the lowest level of support per student in the nation for CU-Boulder.

-- We are using this new revenue to make key investments. This helps us retain our excellent faculty, who are being sought after and being offered more lucrative financial packages by other schools across the nation (as Chancellor DiStefano pointed out at the regents’ meeting, that happened in more than 45 cases within the College of Arts & Sciences this year) that are offering more competitive salaries and benefits.

-- The higher education funding issue affects all public institutions in Colorado, and leaves its colleges and universities with few options. Current tuition and fee increases proposed by other campuses include 8.3 percent at the Colorado School of Mines, 9.0 percent at CSU – Fort Collins, 16.9 percent at CSU-Pueblo, 15.6 percent at Fort Lewis College, 10.5 percent at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and 17.2 percent at Western State Colorado University. And, at many institutions, juniors and seniors pay higher rates than they do at the University of Colorado Boulder. 

-- The University is grateful for the sacrifices of Colorado families, alumni and families across the nation who are scrimping and saving to send their young people to CU-Boulder. We are working hard at the state level to try to restore funding to CU-Boulder so that the cost of a valuable CU degree is not placed squarely on the shoulders of parents and students. This year the state was able to give an extra $3.8 million in one-time funding to CU-Boulder  – an amount we are grateful to receive, but which, by itself, does not provide nearly enough support to negate the need for a tuition increase. You can be a part of our efforts to secure more funding by becoming a CU Advocate

-- You can also make your feelings about tuition increases and state support for CU-Boulder known to CU’s Board of Regents at: or by emailing Chancellor DiStefano at