Students may see 4% increase
Salary raises for staff, faculty also proposed
Incoming undergraduate students and graduate students at the University of Colorado Boulder may be hit with tuition increases next school year as the four-campus university system works to make up for high inflation rates, dips in enrollment — particularly for international students — and pay raises.
During a regular University of Colorado Board of Regents meeting on Feb. 9, regents heard from Chad Marturano, CU financial officer, who discussed three proposed options for increasing tuition at each campus, which are dependent on the amount of funding the state allocates to the university. Colorado lawmakers are poised to approve an increase in funding anywhere between 4.5% to 6.3% later this spring.
“We’re coming off of a year where inflation was around 8%,” Marturano said during the meeting. “We are embarking on a budget environment where we have priorities. We’ve heard a lot of those priorities and those needs earlier in this meeting, especially as they pertain to compensation. We also have the needs of keeping tuition in check for our students, and the more state funding we get the better we’ll be able to keep tuition in check, but we have to balance those two priorities.”
Although the university is proposing a 5% tuition increase at CU Denver and 6% at the UCCS, the three options based on state funding for CU Boulder all keep the projected increase at 4%.
At CU Boulder, the increase would mean a $461 tuition increase for incoming resident undergraduate students; a $1,551 increase for incoming non-residents undergraduate students; a $501 increase for resident graduate students; a $1,327 increase for nonresident graduate students; and $1,627 increase for international undergraduate students, according to the staff report. Continuing resident and non-resident undergraduate students at CU Boulder would not see their tuition increase due to the campus’ tuition guarantee, which mandates that incoming students pay the same — or less — for four years.
“The state really stepped up and made a significant investment in higher ed in the current fiscal year, and we are hoping they can build on that in the coming fiscal year,” said Ken Mcconnellogue, spokesperson for the
university system. “We continue to work with lawmakers and the governor to have them make the investments in higher education, which we think the state gets a significant return on.”
Marturano said more information about student fee changes will be discussed at the regents' April meeting.
Not only does the tuition increase make up for higher inflation rates and decreased enrollment but will also help compensate for the proposed raises for faculty and staff, Marturano said.
CU Boulder projections for non-resident and resident undergraduate enrollment are not expected to shrink much in the upcoming fiscal year, according to the staff report. However, it's enrollment for international students — both undergraduate and graduate students — is expected to see a significant drop. International undergraduate enrollment is predicted to decrease by 13.1% from fiscal year 2022-2023 to 2023-24. Enrollment for international graduate students is expected to fall by 21.4% during the same timeframe.
Mcconnellogue said the university does not know why international student enrollment is expected to decrease so much at CU Boulder while it may actually grow at the Colorado Springs and Denver campuses.
In other discussion, the university is proposing to add 4% more funding to a pool departments can pull from to give merit-based raises to non-classified staff and faculty members. This plan is in line with a commitment the university made to keep up with state raises for classified staff, who are project to see a 5% pay increase. There are only about 1,400 classified staff across the four-campus system. Classified employees are part of the state's personnel system. The State Personnel Board is constitutionally required to standardize these positions. At CU Boulder, these include positions, such as police officer, custodian and grounds technician, among others. Non-classified staff and faculty are university employees who exempt from the rules and regulations enforced by the personnel board.
Additionally, all campuses are looking to increase base minimum wages for students and staff. At CU Boulder, if approved, hourly pay would increase from $15 to $18 an hour for entry level staff and from $15 to $16 an hour for students starting in fiscal year 20232024.
“Our faculty are the backbone of our institution,” CU President Todd Saliman said at the beginning of the meeting. “They're the ones who fulfill our primary mission which is to educate the people of Colorado.”