CU Boulder has announced a major step in reducing the cost of attendance, eliminating $8.4 million per year in course-related fees. Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano made the announcement at his State of the Campus address Tuesday.
“Today, I am announcing The Be Boulder Pact. It is our commitment to our students and their families to further lower cost and increase accessibility to an education at CU Boulder. The three components are: eliminating all course and program fees; increasing scholarships and supporting our student government’s efforts to reduce textbooks costs,” DiStefano said.
The move is part of an ongoing effort by the university to reduce the overall cost of attendance.
One year ago, CU Boulder began implementation of its Colorado resident Tuition Guarantee program that provides financial predictability for students and families. Under the program, the tuition rate and mandatory fees for entering resident freshmen are locked for four years. A similar program was established for out-of-state students in 2005.
Currently, students pay tuition and mandatory fees for select services, which will continue. Students also may be charged for course-related fees depending upon the classes for which they register. There are more than 60 course and program fees, and the university will do away with them beginning fall 2018. The amount of the fees range from $1 per credit hour taken for German and Slavic languages, to $1,255 per semester for the graduate clinical Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences program.
“We are doing this for our students, to allow them to plan and to have more transparency around the total cost of attendance. I believe this will help our students graduate in a timely manner with less debt,” DiStefano said.
Kelly Fox, senior vice chancellor and chief financial officer, said charging course fees and allocating them to colleges and schools had also become a complicated accounting activity. The university will continue to fund the course-related costs for the departments without specifically charging the fees to the students, she said.
“With the support of our regents two years ago to create a multi-year tuition plan, we were able to implement the tuition guarantee. That multi-year plan has allowed us to further eliminate these course and program fees without raising tuition beyond the planned one-time increase for entering freshmen,” Fox said.
Fox said continuing students will see no increase in tuition during their four-year undergraduate guarantee at CU Boulder. Graduate students will also benefit from the elimination of course and program fee, she said.
DiStefano also announced as part of the Be Boulder Pact the campus would formalize its new CU Boulder Impact Scholarship program piloted this fall. The scholarships—worth $14,000 over four years—are awarded to students who demonstrate accomplishments, academic success and persistence based on their socio-economic circumstances. Ninety percent of the pilot round scholarships awarded this fall went to first-generation students.
Lastly, the university is committing to partner with its student government leaders who are working with the Colorado Department of Education to provide electronic licensed teaching materials to students at an extremely discounted rate, potentially saving them hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per semester. The Boulder campus is offering to invest up to $1 million to pilot this program on its campus. The university is supporting student government leaders in their effort to get the state to match the funds.
“We are grateful for the chancellor’s support on this important initiative. Campus leadership sees the value of what we are trying to achieve and we are hopeful that state lawmakers will, too,” said Troy Fossett, president of internal affairs for CU Student Government.