Published: June 24, 2022

The University of Colorado Board of Regents approved the 2022–23 budget Friday for the CU campuses and the CU system office. The vote confirms previously approved plans for tuition, fees and merit pool increases. The budget also allows campus investments, including increased faculty tenure and promotion raises.

The two-day meeting June 23–24 on the Boulder campus also included an update on each campus’s fiscal strength goals for the CU Strategic Plan, the state of college athletics and CU Boulder Athletics’ Gender Equity Plan.

In this article

Budget approval

The 2022–23 budget for CU Boulder totals $2.14 billion—an increase of $70 million from the previous year—which is divided into three funds: the education and general budget (48.5%), auxiliary budget (21.7%) and restricted budget (29.9%).

The education and general budget, also called the operating budget, makes up $1.04 billion of the total and represents a $54 million increase from the previous year due to a combination of higher enrollment, the implementation of tiered tuition rates for undergraduates, an increase in state funding and growth in indirect cost recovery funding.

State funding for the entire CU system rose by $26.6 million, a 10.4% increase for the total system budget, for the coming year. State funds will benefit several specific projects at CU Boulder, including renovations to the Hellems Arts and Sciences Building, as well as ongoing building maintenance and institutional financial aid. 

The operating budget includes funding for several Boulder campus priorities, including:

  • $2 million for a campus strategic fund to support initiatives with campuswide impact. In the coming year, that will include student success programs to boost graduation and retention rates, as well as information technology security needs.
  • $1 million for the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative, which includes a range of plans designed to boost diversity, equity and inclusion across campus.
  • $3.7 million for structural pay adjustments for temporary faculty (adjuncts and lecturers) and to address compression and market pay adjustments for staff.
  • A 3% merit pool for faculty and staff approved by the board in April.
  • $1.2 million to increase raises earned by faculty for tenure and promotion. The raise for promotion to tenured associate professor will increase from $2,000 to $6,500, and the raise for promotion to full professor will increase from $3,000 to $10,500. The current raise amounts have remained flat for more than a decade, contributing to compression and retention issues for faculty. Read more about the promotion and tenure raises.

Campus spending is supported by the regents’ previous votes on student tuition, including the implementation of tuition tiers, consecutive increases to the tuition guarantee, remission of student fees for graduate students on appointment, and the elimination of the capital construction fee for all students.

Learn more about how the CU budget works.

The budget presentation also included projections for enrollment growth at two of the four CU campuses. CU Boulder is anticipating a modest 0.5% enrollment increase per year, resulting in about 1,500 additional students between now and fiscal year 2026–27 for a total of 37,413 students.

Most of the growth is expected to occur from retention of existing students and increased graduate enrollments.

“That half-a-percent makes sense, and our focus is to use retention as the key to growth rather than adding more first-year students,” CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano said.

DiStefano also told the board the university plans to add more housing north of Boulder Creek by 2026. The chancellor recognized that housing in Boulder remains a challenge, and said he hopes increased housing options will allow the campus to better support non-first-year students.

Athletics Gender Equity Plan

Athletic Director Rick George and Senior Associate Athletic Director Jill Keegan presented a report on CU Boulder athletics, highlighting the department’s Gender Equity Plan, which will guide practices and procedures through 2025 to ensure a fair and equitable experience for all student-athletes as required by Title IX.

The presentation came on the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark law that prohibited gender discrimination in educational programs and activities and ushered in more opportunities for women in sports.

Members of the task force, including regents Heidi Ganahl and Lesley Smith, athletics leaders and coaches, Interim Chief Compliance Officer Valerie Simons, faculty, University Registrar Kristi Wold-McCormick, former Athletic Director Bill Marolt and campus legal counsel determined that CU Boulder provides a fair and substantially similar experience for all student-athletes, as measured by participation rates, scholarships and access to support programs.

It also outlines several recommendations to address in the next four years that will move CU Athletics closer to the gender equality ideal.

Recommendations include:

  • Encouraging coaches to award their full allotment of financial aid within women’s programs.
  • Asking sport supervisors to conduct mid-year check-ins with student-athletes to assure issues with access to coaching are addressed promptly.
  • Hiring two social media/digital engagement employees with an emphasis on supporting women’s teams.
  • Increasing the cross-promotion of men and women’s teams.
  • Encouraging women’s basketball to explore participation in a multi-team event, per new NCAA legislation, and supporting related travel costs
  • Enhancing physical environments including new or improved restrooms at Kittredge Field and on East Campus, possibly installing lights at Prentup Field and pursuing long-term facility plans for women’s tennis.

George also provided an update on the academic success of CU Boulder student-athletes, who averaged a 3.1 GPA for the fifth straight semester. Sixty-two student-athletes graduated this spring.

George also discussed the shifting national landscape in collegiate athletics, including the name, image and likeness guidelines that allow college athletes to profit from their personal brand, and potential reforms to the NCAA Commitments, Regulations and Membership Obligations.

CU’s fiscal strength

The regents also received an update on the “fiscal strength” pillar of the CU Strategic Plan. 

Acting Chief Financial Officer Chad Marturano gave an overview of gifts and fundraising totals at each campus.

For the CU Boulder campus, Chief Operating Officer Patrick O’Rourke shared information about revenue-raising initiatives and deferred maintenance needs. He also described how the campus is moving toward the plan’s sustainability goals.

CU Boulder continues to pursue a range of revenue-generating opportunities, O’Rourke said, including focusing on student recruitment, retention and graduation through the Buff Undergraduate Success initiative, creating partnerships to boost transfer student enrollment, continuing the AB Nexus research program and hiring additional grant writers to increase research awards. The campus also worked with the system to restructure debt, reducing debt service payments.

As the oldest of the CU campuses, CU Boulder has a deferred maintenance backlog of about $1.1 billion. With state and university funds, the campus was able to slow the growth of that backlog by about $25.9 million this year, he said. O’Rourke outlined upcoming projects that will further address the backlog, as well as borrowing plans that may be pursued to fund deferred maintenance projects starting in 2023.

CU Boulder is currently updating its Climate Action Plan, with a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, among other steps designed to progress toward overall sustainability goals, he said.

Other business

The board also: 

  • Awarded tenure to 38 CU Boulder faculty members and approved sabbaticals for 66 faculty members.
  • Approved a one-year extension of men’s basketball coach Tad Boyle’s contract through June 30, 2027.
  • Selected Regent Lesley Smith as the new chair and Regent Ken Montera as the next vice chair of the board.

The board will hold its annual retreat July 13–15 at Gateway Canyons before its next regular meeting on Aug. 10.