This week we were pleased to welcome the most diverse and best prepared freshman class in our history for the third consecutive year. This exceptional class was culled from another record year of applications, confirming CU Boulder is a university of choice for high-achieving students in Colorado and across the globe.
The success of our students at CU Boulder is the foundation of everything we do. We have been working on a number of initiatives to ensure that our students stay in school and graduate in a timely manner. In the last two years we have overhauled the technology and culture of our advising system, placing much more information at the fingertips of students and their advisors and emphasizing a high-touch culture through mobile apps, active outreach and regular check-ins with students.
We are analyzing data and identifying the important elements of the university experience that help students be more successful, and we are getting that information into the hands of deans and department chairs so that adjustments to teaching methodologies and strategies can be made.
While we have the top four-year graduation rate in Colorado, and one of the top six-year rates among public institutions, our faculty and staff are striving to hit a target of improving the six-year graduation rate by a full 10 percent to 80 percent by 2020.
As part of these initiatives, beginning with this year’s freshman class, we rolled out the CU Boulder Guarantee as a component of our multi-faceted effort to increase student success.
Entering resident freshmen saw a one-time increase in tuition and mandatory student fees of 3.97 percent, which is locked for four years. Continuing resident students also received the fixed tuition benefit. We have had a similar guarantee in place for non-resident students for several years.
This tuition guarantee is another key element to our push for student success by shifting the financial risk from students and parents to the university. These risks include further declines in state funding or large swings in the economy that would typically push tuition up. It also removes the uncertainty as to what tuition and fees will be for those planning and saving for college. Finally, it creates a clear incentive for students to graduate in four years.
Our resident students and their families have faced a significant reduction in state support for higher education over the last 20 years. In fact, Colorado ranks near the bottom among all states for funding public higher education.
As a result, 20 years ago, Colorado students and their families paid one-third of the cost of an education at CU while state funding paid two-thirds. Today, families pay two-thirds and the state just one-third.
Ultimately, the state of Colorado and CU Boulder, as its flagship public research university, need to focus on how we ensure the future success of our state and our students by innovating in the way we deliver education. The CU Boulder Guarantee and our other initiatives are a start, but we all need to do more if our state and the next generation of students are to succeed.
Philip P. DiStefano
Campus was a hive of activity this past week as thousands of new and returning students arrived and prepared for the launch of a new academic year. Watch this video to get a sense of the excitement. Several City of Boulder and university leaders also rolled up their sleeves to welcome students.
University of Colorado alumni report high satisfaction rates with the education they received, in addition to earning considerably more than the average for college graduates, according to data from the first systemwide survey of alumni.
Very few Olympians get to leave the games with a medal around their neck, but Colorado's very own Emma Coburn and Jenny Simpson will leave Rio as members of the elite cadre of Olympic medal winners after earning bronze medals in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 1,500 meters, respectively. In addition to her third-place performance, Coburn broke her own American record, improving her time by over 3 seconds to 9 minutes, 7.63 seconds. The two now comprise 33 percent of all U.S. women's Olympic medals in any track and field event longer than 800 meters.