By Kelly Fox, Senior Vice Chancellor And Chief Financial Officer
On Tuesday, April 10, the University of Colorado Board of Regents approved a twofold tuition increase: an across-the-board rate increase of 1.9 percent, and what is called a “linearity" shift: from 11.25 to 12 credit hours. The linearity shift means a full-time resident undergraduate 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 are free. The rate increase affects current resident undergraduate students, resident and non-resident graduate students and the incoming non-resident undergraduate class. Current non-resident undergraduate student tuition rates will remain unchanged under their tuition guarantee.
We are using this new revenue to make key investments. For example, this helps us retain our excellent faculty who are being sought after and offered more lucrative financial packages by other schools across the nation. As Chancellor DiStefano pointed out at the regents’ meeting Tuesday, this has happened in more than 45 cases within the College of Arts and Sciences alone this year. Tuition dollars also fund the salaries of our classified staff.
The University is grateful for the sacrifices of Colorado families, students, alumni and families across the nation who are scrimping and saving to send their young people to CU-Boulder, or who are working to pay their own way through school as students.
What does tuition pay for?
Tuition pays for the basic cost of instruction, including the salaries for faculty and staff, health care costs, utilities and CU-Boulder’s basic expenses, which grow each year. Tuition does not pay for the CU recreation center upgrade, the direct costs of curtailing the 4/20 gathering on campus and will not fund proposed new facilities upgrades for intercollegiate athletics.
Why does tuition continue to increase?
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 fiscal year 2014 and is continually looking for ways to streamline and become more efficient. Nobody likes to raise tuition, but the state of Colorado has cut its support for higher education down to the lowest level of support per student in the nation.
What about tuition for graduate students?
The tuition rate for resident and nonresident graduate students will increase by 1.9 percent.
Will this tuition increase be used to give faculty and staff raises?
The tuition increase was approved to pay for a modest increase in CU-Boulder’s expenses next year. The university’s cost of instruction is increasing by 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. The Regents approved a 3.1 percent merit salary pool for faculty and professional exempt staff.
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.