Colorado State University will increase spending on classroom instruction and academic support by $8.4 million in a budget approved today by its governing board.
The $283 million budget for the 2001-2002 fiscal year, approved by the State Board of Agriculture, calls for a $16 million increase (5.9 percent) in spending over the previous year, with more than half that increase going to the university’s highest priorities of classroom instruction and academics.
The budget also includes funding dedicated to the university’s goal of doubling the number of high-tech graduates by 2004, with an additional $200,000 in permanent funding dedicated to these high-tech disciplines. This represents an increase of $550,000 in the base budget over the last two years in these areas, or more than halfway toward the university’s goal of adding nearly $1 million in additional permanent funding to help address the pressing need for more high-tech graduates.
In addition to this base funding increase, the university also committed in this budget $400,000 in one-time funding to bolster high-tech education at the university. The university has also committed to a variety of projects that will bolster its information technology infrastructure. These include:
- $150,000 dedicated to replacing the student services data system, part of the plan to improve access to students of their accounts, grades, schedules and other data.
- $2.5 million for the second phase of the Colorado State University Information and Instruction Technology program to wire 8 buildings and 22 classrooms with high-speed connection to the university’s network and the Internet.
- $232,650 for 17 classroom and laboratory technology upgrades, continuing on previous projects that upgraded 90 of these learning facilities.
In addition to these projects that will upgrade the high-tech offerings at the university, this budget also includes $7.6 million in state funding to continue the renovation of the old Fort Collins High School, which will become the new home to the Music Theater and Dance Department. When this department moves, it will free up more than 103,000 square feet of space for the Computer Science Department to occupy.
Another highlight of the budget is the average five percent merit raise for faculty and administrative professionals designed to keep faculty salaries at Colorado State competitive with other institutions. University officials have called the salary increases vital to arrest a downward trend in Colorado State faculty and administrative staff salaries compared to peer institutions-something that places the university at a competitive disadvantage in attracting and retaining top-quality faculty and administrators. The budget calls for $6.3 million in additional spending for these salaries and is coupled with an increase in benefits contributions beginning July 1 that was funded through the previous budget.
"In this budget what you see is Colorado State University committing its available resources to our highest priorities—our students, the learning that they achieve and the talented faculty who teach them," President Albert C. Yates said. "Our focus has always been on providing the best quality learning environment possible, and through this budget process we have been able to continue that emphasis."
The total budget includes an increase in state general fund support of nearly $5 million to Colorado State as well as $3.3 million from internal reallocation dedicated to the university’s highest priorities. Colorado State has, over the past decade, reallocated more than $20 million to its highest priorities, and consistently ranks as having among the lowest administrative overhead of its peer institutions—a recent report listed Colorado State’s administrative spending as being 30 percent of that of its peer institutions.
"As an institution, Colorado State has dedicated itself to focusing its resources on providing a top-quality educational experience while understanding the need for institutional efficiency and accountability to the taxpayers," Yates said. "As the Colorado Commission of Higher Education noted when it ranked Colorado State as the top performer in its Quality Indicator analysis, our university is providing an excellent return on investment by dedicating our available resources to building the strongest possible academic offerings."
Undergraduate education, as part of the increase in spending, will receive additional support in the following areas:
- $743,000 in one-time funds, over three years, to implement the university’s core curriculum, to add more freshman seminars (small classes of 19 students or less for entering students) and add sections of freshman composition
- $164,000 for additional undergraduate scholarships
- $126,200 for the student retention program
- $58,900 in matching funds for the Life Sciences Advising Center
- $50,000 for the fourth and final new faculty position in the Center for Applied Studies in American Ethnicity.
- $53,595 in base funding for the University Distinguished Teaching Scholars Program, which honors the best teachers on campus.
Other items of note include:
- An increase in tuition for Colorado residents of 4 percent. (The Colorado Legislature sets Tuition rates since the TABOR amendment was instituted.)
- An increase in tuition for non-resident students of 5 percent.
- An increase in student fees of 3.45 percent, as approved by the Student Fee Review Board.
- An increase in the average residence hall rate of 4.8 percent, with an increase in the standard meal plan of 4.9 percent.
- An increase of $924,000 budgeted for utility cost increases, including $750,000 dedicated to meet the anticipated hike in natural gas costs of nearly 130 percent.
Spending of $565,000 dedicated to the state agencies administered by the university. This funding includes:
- $120,000 to the Colorado State Forest Service for an assessment of the state’s forest health and the condition of the interface zone, where housing comes into contact with the forest.
- $200,000 to the Agricultural Experiment Station for invasive plant species control.
- $245,000 to the Cooperative Extension for seven new field agent positions around the state.