First look at 2024-25 budget scenarios presented to Board of Regents

Considerations include potential state funding, tuition, compensation

The Board of Regents on Friday began reviewing potential budget scenarios for the 2024-25 fiscal year, including possible increases in state funding, tuition and fees, and compensation.

Chad Marturano, vice president and chief financial officer for the CU system, presented the budget proposals during the second day of the board’s Feb. 8-9 meeting at CU Boulder. Details varied among three scenarios, differing based on potential variations in state funding, tuition and fees, and compensation.

Depending on the level of the state’s investment, undergraduate resident tuition rates at CU Boulder would increase either 3.0% or 4.0% for new, incoming students; continuing students are assured of no increases because of the campus tuition guarantee. At CU Denver and UCCS, undergraduate resident tuition would increase either 2.0%, 2.5% or 4.0%, with less state funding resulting in larger tuition rate increases. At CU Anschutz, an increase of 1.9% is expected regardless of the scenario since it is only for the undergraduate resident nursing program.

Proposed fees vary by campus.

Compensation increases of at least 2.0% are assumed across the system, with caveats. Classified employees would see a 3.0% increase, plus step plan increases, based on the state requirement. CU Boulder plans a 4.0% merit increase, concluding a two-year planned increase. Merit increases of 2.0% at CU Denver would be triggered by meeting enrollment thresholds; UCCS also proposes an additional 2.0% for merit, plus an additional 2.0% pool for compression, retention and equity that would be triggered by meeting enrollment thresholds. CU Anschutz plans a 3.0% merit increase with a 0.8% pool for compression, retention and equity.  CU system administration is considering a 3.0% merit pool increase.

Hourly minimum wage rates for staff and student employees are planned to increase at varying amounts at CU Denver, UCCS and CU Anschutz, while CU Boulder is keeping minimum wage changes static due to a significant increase last year.

Perennial challenges affecting budgeting across the campuses and system include limited funding from the state, enrollment, market pressure on compensation, and increases in mandatory costs brought on by inflation.

While all enrollment projections will be refined in the months ahead, overall enrollment at CU Boulder is projected to increase 0.5% in the fall of 2024. CU Denver is budgeting a 3.9% decrease in overall enrollment in the 2024-25 fiscal year. UCCS expects overall enrollment to be flat in the fall of 2024. CU Anschutz projects an overall enrollment increase of 3.4% for the 2024-25 fiscal year.

At its April meeting, the board will receive budget resolutions with recommended tuition, compensation and fee changes. A final vote on the budget is expected at the June regents meeting.

In other business at the Feb. 8-9 Board of Regents meeting, the board voted to approve new degrees and certificates at CU Denver, CU Bouder and UCCS. Regents also approved the discontinuance of a master’s degree in health services research, policy and administration at CU Anschutz. The proposals were previously approved on Jan. 23 and advanced to the full board by the Regents University Affairs Committee.

Also at last week’s board meeting, Marturano and Angelique Foster, assistant vice president for strategic initiatives, presented metrics and led group discussions tied to the Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Access pillar of CU’s strategic plan. The deep dive into staff and faculty new hires and retention showed progress toward goals in growing the number of underrepresented minorities among employees.

The board approved one appointment with tenure, Jason Thatcher of the Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder, effective Aug. 19, 2024.

The next Board of Regents meeting is scheduled for April 11-12 at CU Denver.