Published: Feb. 19, 2016
Chancellor Phil DiStefano

On Friday afternoon, the University of Colorado Board of Regents heard a proposal for a new tuition plan for CU-Boulder, which offers resident students a fixed tuition guarantee for four years from the date that they matriculate. CU-Boulder Today sat down with Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano to discuss these proposed changes and what they mean for students.

This new plan is similar in structure to the tuition guarantee we now provide our nonresident students. Why is this the right time to offer a tuition guarantee for our resident students?

As we have all seen, paying for a college degree has become an increasingly unobtainable goal for many Colorado families. We, as the state’s flagship university, need to lead the way in demonstrating a commitment to containing these costs. The tuition guarantee makes CU-Boulder's costs for students and their families fully predictable and serves as an additional incentive for students to graduate in four years. We provide further incentive to graduate in four years by having our students pay by the credit hour, but only up to 12 credits. If a student takes more credits, there is no additional charge.

How does the guarantee work for an incoming student?

We have proposed to the Board of Regents that resident tuition will go up 5 percent for each entering class over the prior entering class for the next four years. After that initial increase that class will be locked into that rate for four years. We believe it is important to make this kind of commitment for our students and families in the state of Colorado.

What about our current students?

Current students would follow the same plan, a one-time increase of 5 percent, which is then locked in for four years for our sophomores and juniors. Seniors would receive a 3 percent increase. As is done now tuition is paid by the credit hour up to a maximum of 12, after which additional classes can be taken at no additional charge. Consistent with our policy for out-of-state students, if students go beyond their four-year guarantee period, they will then resort to the immediately following class of entering students’ tuition rate and so on for the length of time they remain at CU.

How will this affect the university’s budget?

There is no doubt that this plan that we are bringing forward requires us to be innovative in how we manage our resources and deal with the ups and downs of the economy, but we are committed to doing this and have a strong strategy to keep the university fiscally healthy and thriving.

Are there any other tuition plans being considered by the board?

We have developed an alternative strategy for the Regents’ consideration as well. That plan includes an annual increase of just 3 percent per year for the next four years for all students, each year. While not flat, this provides certainty to families and students as to what their tuition will be for planning at a modest increase. This would apply to incoming and current students.

In this scenario as well, students will pay by the credit hour up to 12 credits, after which there are no additional charges for additional classes/credits.

When will the tuition plan for the 2016-2017 academic year be approved?

We hope that the Regents will be able to finish their review and approve at their meeting on April 5 and 6. In any case, no later than June 30 the Board of Regents will set a new tuition rate table. The new rates may be published as tentative well before June 30 at the Bursar's tuition and fee web-site.