Colorado State University System Board of Governors Approves Csu Budget, Tuition for 2007-2008 School Year

The Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System today approved a $367.3 million 2007-08 educational and general budget for Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

With substantial additional support for undergraduate programs, the budget will add 45 new faculty positions, and it will assist in retaining essential faculty with a 5 percent raise for faculty and staff.  It will also further increase campus safety with improvements to security and the addition of three new police officers. The campus’ $367.3 million education and general budget represents about 46 percent of the Colorado State University System’s total budget of approximately $800 million.  

The board also authorized the sale of a $175 million bond issue for capital construction and improvement projects largely on the Fort Collins campus.  As states have decreased their funding of controlled maintenance and capital construction, universities nationwide have increasingly turned to issuing debt as a means to assure that students have quality facilities in which to learn.  

Colorado State’s current debt load per student – at approximately $4,800 – is substantially below other institutions, including Colorado institutions.  The bond issue will enhance substantially the quality of the education environment at Colorado State University.

Approved as part of the educational and general budget were an additional $2 million of financial aid to increase access to Colorado State and $2 million to create two new Superclusters – innovative science-business alliances designed to rapidly move university research on global challenges into the commercial marketplace and more quickly into the hands of people who can benefit from the research.

The budget includes a tuition increase on the Fort Collins campus of $85 per semester for a full-time resident student and $369 per semester for a full-time non-resident. Closing the university’s credit-hour gap by one credit – meaning a full-time student will now pay for 10 credits instead of nine – will cost a full-time resident student an additional $202, bringing the average total cost increase per semester for full-time residents to about $287.

Non-resident students will pay an additional $874 as a result of the credit hour closure, bringing the average total cost increase for a full-time non-resident to about $1,243.

With a total full-time 2007-08 resident tuition of $4,040 per year, Colorado State is still only about 80 percent of the average of tuition and fees charged by such peers as Kansas State University and Texas A&M, according to a recent analysis.

"The 2008 budget will allow us to cover mandated costs and provide a 5 percent salary increase. While it does not allow the university to move forward as quickly as the Board had hoped with the new stretch goals, this is the healthiest budget CSU has had in 15 years," said Larry Edward Penley, chancellor of the Colorado State University System and president of the Fort Collins campus. "We appreciate the governor’s support during the budget process. This budget will allow us to make progress toward our institutional stretch goals, invest in faculty and student retention, increase financial aid for undergraduate students and significantly enhance the overall quality of the institution."

"The Board of Governors has set aggressive stretch goals for Colorado State University to achieve the highest levels of excellence in education, research and outreach to the state," said Douglas L. Jones, chairman of the CSU Board of Governors. "This budget will go a long way in helping the university achieve those specific goals."

Still, Penley noted, this progress comes within a troubling context: a recent national study on the funding picture for higher education placed Colorado 50th among all 50 states in per-student support for higher education. The study was conducted by SHEEO (State Higher Education Executive Officers).

"We at CSU are not going to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves because of the funding situation," Penley said. "This is an excellent university that attracts highly qualified students and leads the world in research areas ranging from tuberculosis and infectious disease to cancer and alternative energy. We’ve built that reputation while operating efficiently and responsibly, with very limited resources.

"We appreciate the state support we’ve received, but Colorado must do more to remain competitive, and Colorado State University must take responsibility for assuring that it remains one of America’s major research universities."

Penley said he was encouraged by recent discussions with the governor and other leaders in the state about a unified proposal to increase funding for all of higher education, and added that Colorado State will only move ahead as all of Colorado’s higher education is appropriately funded. Significant funding in this year’s Colorado State budget is being spent on the university’s "stretch goals" – investments in university resources to support undergraduate student success, increase faculty, and provide additional support for economic development capacity at Colorado State.

Stretch goals include adding 450 new faculty, increasing enrollment by 6,000 students and doubling research spending to $500 million in the next five years – to remain a competitive contributor to the Colorado and global economies and to provide the best possible educational experience for all students.

To help meet those stretch goals, the board approved the bond issue for the university system to improve the quality of facilities for students. That includes, among others, improvements to the University Center for the Arts, a new Computer Science building and an addition to the business college’s Rockwell Hall in Fort Collins.

The 2007-2008 budget increase of $39.2 million includes $18.4 million beyond mandatory increases to help achieve the stretch goals, including the creation of 45 new faculty positions. The budget means the university will also:

-continue to develop its new Alliance Program, a partnership with 10 Colorado high schools designed to encourage high-school students around the state to attend college;

-provide enhanced support for graduate education;

-create new degree programs in Journalism and Technical Communications, Health and Exercise Science, and Biomedical Engineering;

-establish the Center for Applied Studies in American Ethnicity as an academic department;

-begin initial work on the development of new Athletics facilities, including an indoor practice facility and a student athlete success center;

-enhance faculty and administrative professional medical benefits;

-provide enhanced support for campus safety and security including three new police officers; and

-enhance student retention programs.

"The addition of new faculty and programs to the university will allow Colorado State to continue its strong commitment to the quality of the educational experience and research environment," said Tony Frank, senior vice president and provost.

The university also will continue to increase its budget for research and discovery by investing in additional Superclusters – alliances of academic researchers, economists and business experts designed to encourage collaboration and bridge the vastly different worlds of business and academia. In February, Colorado State unveiled the first Supercluster – MicroRx, a first-of-its-kind enterprise to speed the transition of lifesaving research on infectious diseases from the academic world into the global marketplace.

"Colorado State University is committed to promoting quality of life and economic prosperity in Colorado through its research on the most critical challenges facing our world today. That’s why we’re investing in the Supercluster concept, which will allow for more rapid commercialization of a larger number of research outcomes," Penley said.

The CSU campus in Fort Collins attracts more research funding than any other university in the state outside of the Health Sciences Center in Denver, surpassing the University of Colorado-Boulder campus for the first time this year.