Colorado State University’s governing board today approved a 6.2 percent tuition increase for in-state students and a 9 percent increase for non-residents as part of the university’s 2002-2003 fiscal year budget. The average cost of tuition for a full-time undergraduate resident student at Colorado State next year will increase from $2,502 to $2,655.
"I believe the board has done a good job of ensuring that Colorado State will retain its high standards while keeping tuition as low as possible," said Reginald Washington, president of the State Board of Agriculture, the university’s governing board. "Through this responsible fiscal management, we are able to maintain affordability and avoid any major impacts on the quality of education."
Colorado State’s governing board postponed the budget approval from June 12 in order to review additional financial planning options and to continue working with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education to develop an appropriate tuition increase.
"The Board is sensitive to the Governor’s concerns about increasing tuition and worked with the CCHE to address these issues," said Washington. "There are, however, several important long-range funding issues that affect the quality of higher education in Colorado that we hope will be addressed by the Legislature in the near future."
The raise in tuition is a portion of a $300 million education and general budget that the board approved for Colorado State. The governing board also approved an average merit-based pay increase of 5 percent for faculty and professional staff. Merit increases are designed to help keep Colorado State salaries competitive with peer institutions and allow the university to recruit and retain top-quality faculty and administrators.
The budget approved today allocates the largest part of the increase, an additional $9.9 million over last year, to the one of university’s highest priorities: continually improving university instruction and academic support including scholarships and fellowships.
"Even in difficult financial times, Colorado State University and the board remain committed to using all our resources to maintain the highest quality academic standards and remaining competitive in faculty salary rates," said Albert C. Yates, chancellor of the Colorado State University System and president of Colorado State.
Washington noted that the pressures from the Colorado Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR, keep state higher education institutions behind peer institutions with respect to controlling tuition, fees and other cash funds. He said that this trend makes it difficult for Colorado universities to remain competitive with peers in attracting and maintaining top faculty and administrators as well as providing innovative programs that attract top national students.
"Over the past few years, peer institutions have raised their tuitions by more than twice the rate of increase at Colorado State," said Washington. "Even with next year’s tuition increase, a world-class Colorado State University education still remains one of the best values in the nation."
The board also approved a 6.2 percent increase in resident tuition and an 8.2 percent increase in non-resident tuition for the University of Southern Colorado, which will become Colorado State University-Pueblo in July 2003. Faculty salaries at the southern-Colorado institution will also increase an average of 4 percent.
Today’s action also affects Fort Lewis College in Durango which will see a 6.2 percent raise in resident tuition and an 8.2 percent increase in non-resident tuition. Additionally, the board approved an average faculty pay raise of 5 percent for next year. Fort Lewis, currently operating under the authority of the Board of Agriculture, will become an independent college in September.
The State Board of Agriculture will be known as the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System, a change approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Bill Owens in the last legislative session that will take effect August 8.