Colorado State University Board of Governors Approves Budget for 2005-06: Resident Undergraduate Tuition Increases 15 Percent

The Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System today approved a budget for 2005-06 that includes an 11.9 percent increase to the university’s total tuition revenue, a total approved by the state legislature earlier this year. The board approved the $313.6 million budget, including a new tuition plan for Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

"Our primary concerns are access and opportunity. We are doing our very best to keep increases in tuition to a minimum to ensure Colorado students have access to their own state university and the opportunity to obtain a world-class education here," said Larry Edward Penley, chancellor of the Colorado State University System. "Colorado is a low-tuition state, and Colorado State University is an excellent bargain for students desiring a top-quality education. That’s something we’re determined to preserve."

The new tuition plan will increase base tuition for Colorado State University resident undergraduates $441 per year or 15 percent, resident graduate students $304 or 9 percent, and non-resident undergraduate and graduate students $814 and $849 respectively or 6 percent. An incoming resident freshman next year will spend, on average, 10.9 percent more than this year for tuition, fees, and room and board.

"The majority of the proposed tuition increase will permit Colorado State to cover mandatory and necessary increases to its budget for the coming year and, most important, enable the university to avoid making additional cuts for fiscal year 2005-06," said Penley. "The plan will also allow us to begin making critical investments to enhance the quality of academic programs and undergraduate education, allow Colorado State to maintain its world-class status and competitiveness with other leading universities, and strengthen the value of a Colorado State University degree to employers."

Penley added that this is the first year in more than a decade that Colorado State has witnessed a double-digit tuition increase and noted that last year’s tuition increase was 1.1 percent.

Reduced funding over the past few years has led to less faculty and increased class sizes, as well as difficulty in adequately compensating faculty and staff, resulting in faculty departures and difficulty in hiring top professors. During that time, the university made significant budget cuts including the elimination of more than 240 positions, including 52 regular faculty positions, 24 other faculty positions, 118 state classified positions and 50 administrative professionals in addition to significant reductions in support to programs and facilities.

With the new tuition plan, Colorado State plans to add 10 new faculty positions to begin replacing those lost during the past few years, which will lead to lower class sizes as well as to improvement to the quality of education and research.

In addition to supporting new professors, 20 percent of the new tuition revenue will directly fund need-based financial aid to students at Colorado State. Other quality enhancements that will be funded by the plan include the following.

–     $180,450 to enhance the undergraduate honors program to expand program offerings and provide a more attractive curriculum to high-achieving high school students.

–     $259,000 to add five new police officers to the CSU Police Department to improve patrol coverage of the campus and ensure an increased level of security for students, staff, faculty and visitors.

–     $62,000 to expand the Key Academic Community program, which improves the retention of freshmen students.

–     $56,980 to permanently fund the Center for Life Sciences, ensuring the center, established in 1999 with a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant, can continue to provide academic advising and support for interdisciplinary undergraduate research.

–     $400,000 to restore funding for the Graduate School and to increase recruitment efforts for graduate students.

–     $50,000 to the Office of Resources for Disabled Students to bring staffing in line with increased demand for the program.

–     $58,000 to provide a position for the Women and Minorities in Engineering Program, which coordinates the recruitment and retention of under-represented students in the College of Engineering.

–     $56,150 to enhance additional diversity initiatives on campus.

Colorado State University is implementing supplemental costs for both resident and nonresident undergraduate students, based on tuition differentials for specific categories of academic programs, which reflect both higher costs and higher market demands. The supplemental costs per credit hour will be $19 for undergraduate courses in the College of Business; $12.50 for undergraduate courses in the College of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science; $2 for upper division undergraduate courses (course numbers 300 through 499); and $6 for a selection of undergraduate courses in specific high-cost programs in the remaining colleges.

"Raising tuition is not our first choice, but at this point, it is our only choice. In light of drastic cuts in state funding over the past few years in conjunction with growing enrollments, Colorado State must take this action now to eliminate any additional cuts and ensure the top-quality academic environment and education that make a Colorado State University degree such a valuable asset," said Penley. "We have fallen further behind our peers in recent years, and now have the opportunity to begin taking steps to make certain we remain competitive and continue providing an outstanding education to our students."

Even with the increased tuition plan for 2005-06, Colorado State will still lag far behind the average tuition of other state universities throughout the nation.

Colorado State University also charges less in-state tuition and fees that any of its peer institutions nationwide, last year costing on average 71 percent of what comparable universities cost. In the past five years, peer institutions increased their tuition and fees more than 52 percent on average, while Colorado State’s increased about 26 percent. Over the last 11 years, peer institutions raised tuition and fees 105 percent while Colorado State raised its tuition and fees 46 percent.

According to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the College Board’s Trends in College Pricing 2004, for 2004-05, the average national increase in tuition and fees for public four-year colleges and universities was $487 or 10.5 percent for a total cost of $5,132: Colorado State’s increase was $46 or 1.2 percent for a total cost of $3,790. For 2004-05, tuition and fees for peer institutions averaged $5,330 and was $3790 at Colorado State. On a national basis, for 2004-05, at four-year institutions, total costs for tuition, fees, room and board averaged $11,354; these same costs at Colorado State averaged $9,806.

Colorado State operates at a 2.9 percent administrative overhead cost, the lowest percentage of any college or university in Colorado, including community colleges, and one of the lowest in the nation.