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Wednesday Churn: CU tuition raised

What’s churning:

Updated 11 a.m. – The University of Colorado Board of Regents voted during a special meeting today to raise 2011-12 tuition rates and some student fees.

The vote to raise tuition was 5-4, and the new fee schedule passed 6-2.

For full-time resident undergraduate students, the increase would be 9 percent at Boulder, 7 percent at Colorado Springs and 9 percent at Denver.

But averages, like everything else in higher education finance, can be deceiving. The Boulder average increase is partly due to a change in the number of credit hours defined as full time. A new definition of that was implemented earlier in Colorado Springs, so the increase is lower. And the increase for part-time students would be 2 percent in Denver – where a majority of students take less than a full load.

The tuition and fee recommendations made by CU system Vice President Kelly Fox and approved by the regents are complicated and vary by campus, program, resident or non-resident, full-time or part-time and undergraduate or graduate. And the Anschutz Medical Center has its own set of numbers.

But the packet provided to the regents includes tables listing “cost of attendance,” a calculation that estimates the combined impact of increased tuition and fees compared to the 2010-11 school year that’s now ending. (You can see all the tuition and fee tables in this board document. Check pages 49 and 50 for cost of attendance for resident students. Comparable figures for non-residents are on pages 53 and 54.)

Here’s a sampling of the cost-of-attendance figures, which probably are more meaningful that just tuition:

• Costs would increase for resident undergrads 5.8 percent at Boulder, 5.3 percent at Colorado Springs and 5.5 percent at Denver (lower division).

• Increases vary more widely for resident graduate and professional students. First-year Boulder law students would pay 6.3 percent more than students did this year. But costs for graduate education students in Denver would go up only 2.7 percent. And Anschutz dental students would pay 7.1 percent more.

• Percentage increases for non-resident students would be lower in Boulder and Colorado Springs but above 7 percent for both non-resident undergrads and grad students in Denver.

Out-of-state students, of course, pay much more than Colorado students. Estimated cost of attendance for a resident Boulder arts and sciences undergrad next year would be $27,245. The kid from elsewhere would pay $48,423. Even with increases, that out-of-state student could save about 10 grand by going to UCD.

The regents’ action kicks off the tuition decision season for trustees at all Colorado state institutions, who will decide rates between now and the end of June. Some schools, including Metro State and CSU, have proposed double-digit increases. But in many of those cases the increase isn’t just in the base rate per credit hour. Some schools are proposing to change their definitions of full time, and some are proposing to lower fees while raising tuition.

What’s on tap:

The State Capital Construction Assistance Board meets from 1 to 3:30 p.m. in room 101 of the Department of Education, 201 E. Colfax Ave. Agenda

The State Board of Education meets starting at 3 p.m. for private interviews with the two commissioner candidates.

The St. Vrain board meets at 6:30 p.m. at Educational Services Center, 395 South Pratt Parkway, Longmont. More info.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Analysis: What does it mean that more women than men are now earning advanced degrees? The Atlantic.

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