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Regents set tuition to rest

The University of Colorado Regents have unanimously approved 2012-13 resident undergraduate tuition increases lower than proposed by the administration, ending for now a months-long wrangle over the issue.

Campus of University of Colorado at Boulder
Campus of University of Colorado at Boulder
J. Zubrzycki

But regents reduced the hit to students by trimming the size of a fund that provides merit raises for faculty and staff.

Here are the increases approved for Colorado resident undergraduates at system campuses:

  • Boulder: Tuition will rise 5 percent. Full-time undergrads will be charged for 12 credit hours, up from 11.25 this year. The full-time tuition bill will be $8,056, up from $7,672.
  • Denver: Per-credit hour tuition will increase 0.8 percent. Full-time resident undergrads will be charged for 15 credit hours, up from 13 this year. Increases will vary by student because a significant percentage of UCD students aren’t full-time.
  • Colorado Springs: Tuition goes up 4.9 percent for a full-time bill of $7,050. The cost this year was $6,720.

A variety of different increases will apply to non-resident undergrads, graduate students, students in some special programs and to students at the Anschutz Medical Campus.

University administration had proposed about $12 million be set aside next year for merit pay increases. That amount is about 3 percent of total compensation in the system. The regents instead approved a fund of about $8 million, or 2 percent.

“We do need to be able to support our staff [but] at the same time I’m not entirely comfortable with the 3 percent,” said chair Kyle Hybl, R-5th District.

Once all the amending was done – and after regents temporarily moved to other agenda items while staff calculated the impacts of what the board proposed – there seemed to be good feelings all around.

“I’m pleased that we’ve all come together,” said regent Sue Sharkey, R-45h District.

“When we get more public funding, there will be a smaller tuition increase,” said regent Michael Carrigan, D-1st District.

Years of declining state funding – and the perceived unfairness of the current formula that distributes diminished state aid to individual campuses – were mentioned repeatedly during the Thursday meeting at the Auraria Higher Education Center.

Tuition has been a contentious topic for the regents ever since early administration proposals at the start of the year suggested double-digit increases in some cases (see story). Some regents also were unhappy with raises for a number of top Boulder administrators last year.

Going into today’s meeting, CU administrators presented two options for each CU campus. The two proposals for resident undergraduates by campus were: Boulder, 8.6 percent and 6.7 percent; Denver 9.4 percent and 7.3 percent; Colorado Springs 7 percent and 5.8 percent.

The administration recommended adoption of the larger increases – called option A – but the regents chose B and then reduced it further.

Earlier this month, the State Board of Community Colleges and Occupational Education approved a 6.5 percent tuition increase for its colleges (see story). And see this EdNews article for what’s happening on other campuses.

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