The Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System on Wednesday approved the education and general budget for CSU in Fort Collins, including the first salary increase for faculty and staff in four years. The budget, effective July 1, also includes a 9 percent increase in the resident undergraduate tuition rate.
Colorado State’s education and general budget includes state funding and tuition dollars, but does not include self-funded programs or research support. This year’s $459 million general budget is a 6 percent increase compared to last year. The entire university budget for 2012-13, including all sources, is about $900 million, an approximate 4 percent change from the previous year.
“After three years of some of the toughest budgets in CSU history, we’re very pleased to bring forward a budget that keeps tuition increases in the single digits and provides the first pay increase to our employees in four years,” CSU President Tony Frank said. “While we’re still taking a reduction in state funding, it’s far less than what we had built into our original budget planning last fall – all of which means that our faculty, staff and students can breathe a bit easier after several years of deep cuts. This is all very good news for CSU.”
State Funding Outlook Improved
Overall state funding provided to Colorado State will decrease by $2.25 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year to $91.2 million. Last year, state funding decreased by $23 million, and over the last four years, state funding has decreased by a combined total of more than $39 million.
In the fall, projections indicated the potential for a much larger cut in state funding, which would have required significant reductions in financial aid and operating budgets across campus. The worst-case scenario, however, did not materialize. Instead, the uptick in the state’s economic picture means that CSU will be able to boost funding for financial aid by 11 percent and increase salaries for faculty and staff by 3 percent. It will be the first salary increase for employees since the 2008-09 fiscal year.
Tuition and Financial Aid
For the 2012-13 fiscal year, resident undergraduate tuition at Colorado State will increase $568, up 9 percent from the previous year. Nonresident tuition for undergraduates will go up $660, a 3 percent change from last year. Tuition rates for both resident and nonresident graduate students will grow by 5 percent, an increase of $400 and $980 respectively.
Fiscal year 2012-13 annual tuition rates for CSU are:
- Resident undergraduate – $6,875
- Non-resident undergraduate – $22,667
- Resident graduate – $8,392
- Non-resident graduate – $20,572
Support for financial aid at CSU will increase $3.1 million in 2012-13. This includes an additional $2.5 million for the Commitment to Colorado Program, which packages financial aid to cover half or all tuition costs for Colorado residents who come from families making less than the state’s median family income of $57,000 annually.
“CSU continues to be a remarkable value for students and families, with tuition rates well below peer institutions in Colorado and across the country,” said Rick Miranda, provost and executive vice president. “We are very pleased we were able to increase our investment in financial aid this year, which speaks to CSU’s commitment to ensuring that access to a world-class university education remains an attainable option for all Colorado children, no matter what their family’s income level.”
Fees for full-time on-campus students at Colorado State are anticipated to increase $39 for the next fiscal year, pending approval by the Associated Students of CSU, a change of 2.2 percent. The average cost of room and board at CSU will grow by $558, a 5.8 percent increase. The total cost of attending CSU – tuition, fees and room and board – is expected to increase 6.6 percent over the prior year, a change of $1,165.
Strategic Investments and Controlling Costs
The better-than-expected budget scenario means that Colorado State will be able to invest $4.5 million in programs that support students, academic infrastructure and critical initiatives. Of that, about $2.5 million will go toward hiring and retaining faculty and supporting key academic programs, including the School for Global Environmental Sustainability and CSU STEM; $1.2 million will go to outreach and engagement efforts as well as programs focused on student success and access; and more than $756,000 will go toward academic infrastructure – such as faculty computing – and to public safety and emergency service support.
These investments will be made with a continued eye toward controlling costs and responsibly managing public dollars. For example, the cost of educating a student at Colorado is the same as it was 20 years ago on an inflation-adjusted basis. What has changed is that 20 years ago, two-thirds of the cost of a CSU education was paid for by the state. Today, that ratio has flipped — individual students and their families pay for two-thirds of the cost, with the state paying one-third.
“While this budget contains much good news compared to recent years, it continues to reflect the privatization of public higher education in Colorado, with state support declining and students paying a greater share through tuition,” Frank said. “It is a fundamental challenge facing higher education in Colorado and throughout the nation. Despite these challenges, CSU, by almost any measure, has maintained a focus on excellence and continued to grow and improve for the better.”