By Kelly Fox, Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer
On Friday, March 21, the University of Colorado Board of Regents voted to raise tuition at CU-Boulder for the 2014-15 academic year by 3.3 percent – one of the lowest tuition increases in the past decade. We are using this new revenue to make key investments on initiatives outlined below. Also below are some frequently asked questions on tuition.
1) 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. Other sources of funds are dedicated to these projects.
2) Why does tuition continue to increase?
Colorado resident tuition is not our first resort when balancing the budget. Out-of-state tuition comprises two-thirds of our revenue and continues to subsidize the education of our Colorado resident students. Nobody likes to raise tuition, but the state of Colorado’s funding for higher education is at the lowest level of support per student in the nation. Notwithstanding that, the state is projected to boost its level of funding for higher education this year by 11 percent, which equates to a one-time $6 million increase for CU-Boulder. This increased state support was a chief reason why this year’s tuition increase is one of the lowest in the past decade.
3) What about tuition for graduate students?
The tuition rate for graduate students will increase by 3.1 percent, the equivalent of $153 per semester for a College of Arts and Sciences resident student.
4) 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. This increase includes the salaries for faculty and staff, funding for the second year of the Esteemed Scholars Program, health care costs, deferred maintenance, federal and state law compliance, utility increases and other basic expenses.
The regents approved mandated and merit salary increases for CU-Boulder faculty and staff, effective in their July 31 paychecks. For classified staff, this funds a long-deserved and legally mandated pay raise that includes a 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase, with the possibility of an additional increase of up to 1 percent based on merit. Faculty and university staff employees are eligible for raises out of the 3 percent merit salary pool.