Published: June 17, 2020

At its regular meeting on Thursday, June 18, which was hosted remotely, the University of Colorado Board of Regents approved the fiscal year 2020–21 operating budget; approved five new degrees on the Boulder campus and more.

Operating budget

The board voted to approve the fiscal year 2020–21 operating budget for the CU system and all four campuses. The board had previously voted in May to approve a zero percent increase in tuition and fees for the 2020–21 academic year. 

Today’s vote finalizes the $4.54 billion budget for the CU system, including the auxiliary and restricted fund budgets for the Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver and Anschutz Medical campuses, as well as for the board of regents and system administration. The total budget for the CU Boulder campus is $1.86 billion (down 2% from $1.9 billion last year).

“So far, we have managed to avoid deeper cuts with hiring delays, reductions in discretionary spending and furloughs,” said Chancellor Philip DiStefano. “Our campus community has shared in this sacrifice so we can continue to provide quality education for our students.”

Highlights of the campus budget include the following:

  • A zero percent increase in tuition for undergraduate students including resident, nonresident and international students.
  • A zero percent increase in tuition for graduate and professional students.
  • Proposed changes to student fees
  • The suspension of merit increases for CU employees, including the Boulder campus, for the fiscal year 2021.

CU Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Todd Saliman pointed out in his 2020-21 Operating Budget presentation that the budget may need to be updated throughout the year, depending on revenue.

“We know less about our revenue picture now than we normally would this time of year,” Saliman said. “We will be providing updates throughout the year.”

Saliman reported that Boulder enrollment projections are similar to previous years, with a minor resident undergraduate drop of .6% (approximately -100 students), and a 1.9% (200 students) increase in nonresident undergraduates that offsets much of the 17.6% (-300 students) decrease in international students.

For more information about the 2020-21 budget, the dispersal of federal funds or cost-saving measures taken by the Boulder campus, see coverage of the May Board of Regents meeting.

New degrees in teacher leadership, outdoor recreation economy and more

The board of regents also voted to approve five new degrees, three of which are made possible by interdisciplinary collaboration between colleges and departments, and four of which are online professional master’s degrees:

  • Master of Arts Degree in Teacher Leadership: an online professional master’s degree offered through the School of Education designed to address the shortage of teachers in Colorado’s rural communities.
  • Master of Arts Degree in Corporate Communication: an online professional master’s degree offered through the College of Media, Communication and Information designed to train working professionals in skills needed for an increasingly globalized corporate environment, including business, governmental and non-governmental organizations.
  • Master of Science Degrees in Data Science: two separate professional master’s degrees offered through an interdisciplinary effort between the College of Engineering and Applied Science, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Media, Communication and Information. One degree will be offered online (to be delivered on the Coursera platform) and one as a traditional in-residence program.
  • Master of Science Degree in Outdoor Recreation Economy: an online professional master’s degree offered through the Environmental Studies Program (College of Arts and Sciences) and the Graduate School focusing on three core thematic areas: outdoor recreation, public lands and resilient communities.

Following regent approval, the new degrees are then approved by the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) as a final step.

The master’s in teacher leadership will be available in fall 2020. The other degrees will be available in 2021. 

Board chair and vice chair election

Immediately preceding the conclusion of the public meeting on Thursday, the board held leadership elections to select the chair and vice chair of the board for the coming year.

Regent Glen Gallegos, a Republican from Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, was re-elected board chair for a second one-year term. Gallegos was nominated by Regent Irene Griego, a Democrat from the 7th Congressional District and previous vice chair of the board. He was elected by acclamation, with no other nominees having been brought forward. Gallegos assumed office in 2013 and was re-elected to his current term in 2018.

Regent Lesley Smith, an at-large Democrat, was elected board vice chair. Smith was elected to her first six-year term in 2018.

In other board news

  • The board considered a resolution proposed by Regent Jack Kroll, a Democrat from the 1st Congressional District, acknowledging racism and making recommendations to improve diversity and inclusion throughout the CU system. The board voted 5-4 to refer Regent Kroll’s resolution to the university affairs and governance committees for further consideration. Chancellor DiStefano separately announced CU Boulder’s immediate actions for change today to address diversity and inclusion on the Boulder campus.
  • The board voted to approve tenure for 44 faculty on the Boulder campus.
  • The board voted to approve or amend contracts for six CU Boulder assistant football coaches:
    • An amended and re-stated three year contract for Offensive Coordinator and Wide Receivers Coach Darrin Chiaverini.
    • New two-year contracts for Offensive Line Coach Mitch Rodrigue, Quarterbacks Coach Danny Langsdorf, Defensive Line Coach Chris Wilson, Safeties Coach Brett Maxie and Cornerbacks Coach Demetrice Martin.
  • The board approved amendments to the contracts of Athletic Director Rick George and 11 head coaches to reduce their salaries for FY20-21 in line with the pay reductions announced by Athletics in April in response to the fiscal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For more details or to see presentations from the meeting, visit the BoardDocs website.