Published: April 14, 2021

Last week, the Board of Regents approved a plan by the campuses that will effectively keep tuition flat again for the 2021–22 academic year. CU Boulder's Chief Financial Officer Carla Ho’a provides details on how this proposal supports CU students and contributes to fiscal resilience.  

CU Boulder is implementing  a “tuition buy-down” for graduate students, law students and incoming undergraduate students for the 2021–22 academic year. How will this work?  

We recognize times are hard for students and families as a result of the ongoing pandemic. CU Boulder has kept tuition flat for the past three years, and has implemented several other measures in recent years to help increase affordability.  While the university will raise tuition by 3% for graduate students, law students and incoming undergraduates for the 2021–22 academic year to help maintain fiscal resilience, impacted students will receive a credit on their bills for the amount of the increase, effectively meaning no student will pay an increase in their tuition rates this year.  

Carla Ho'a

CU Boulder’s budget has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. How will the campus pay for the buy-down?  

Our campus has received federal funds distributed from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). We have some flexibility in how we are using these funds, and it’s vital we support our CU Boulder students and community as the economy continues to recover. CU Boulder is choosing to apply one-time HEERF funds to pay for this tuition buy-down to effectively eliminate the impact of the tuition increase on our students for the 2021–22 academic year. We felt this was a critical step to helping lessen the financial burden of the pandemic on our students.  

How does this impact students with a four-year tuition guarantee?  

Continuing undergraduate students at CU Boulder will see no change in tuition, thanks to the university’s four-year tuition guarantee, which has been extended by one year for all cohorts due to the effects of the pandemic.  

During the open comments period of the board meeting last week, some students called for evenly splitting the next round of federal funds across all students, faculty and staff. How does the approved plan differ from this suggestion?   

First, I think it’s great that students are bringing such energy to conversations about the campus budget. With HEERF III, the round of federal funding approved in March, half of the funds are specifically intended for financial aid while the other half is for “institutional use.” We are using a significant portion of the institutional funds to cover the tuition buy-down. This equates to roughly 70% of the HEERF III funds going to students in all, with remaining portions to be allocated in support of fiscal resiliency of the university to ensure we can continue to deliver on our mission at a high level. 

How can faculty, staff and students learn more about the CU Boulder budget and join the conversation regarding the budget model redesign launched in December 2020?  

We are hosting two virtual Coffee and the Campus Budget sessions and six Budget Model Redesign Listening Sessions this month and into early May. Campus community members can also learn more online.