2019-20 budget includes 3% compensation pool, flat tuition

Board of Regents gives preliminary approval to proposal

The University of Colorado Board of Regents on Friday voted to approve a proposed budget that includes a 3% compensation pool for faculty and staff.

The proposal as presented by Todd Saliman, vice president for budget and finance and chief financial officer, also incorporates flat tuition and flat mandatory fees for resident undergraduate students as required in Gov. Jared Polis’ state budget proposal, which is advancing at the Capitol.

Speaking at the board’s meeting at 1800 Grant St. in Denver, Saliman said it’s the first time in 10-plus years that CU has been able to have a 0% percent tuition increase.

“I’m pleased for our students and their families that we are able to have a 0% tuition increase for next year,” said CU President Bruce D. Benson. “We appreciate the support of the governor and legislature, who are providing the funding that makes this possible.

“Still, it is incumbent upon us to continue our efforts to find efficiencies, institute better business practices, streamline bureaucracy and do all the things we have been doing for the past 11 years to ensure a CU education remains affordable, a great value and more important, of high quality.”

No increase in tuition and mandatory fees is a condition of the state budget currently advancing at the Capitol. As first proposed by former Gov. John Hickenlooper and supported by current Gov. Jared Polis, the budget provides a 13% increase, or $28.2 million, in funding for CU.

Saliman told the board that recent legislative changes to the state budget, including funding for transportation, had cast doubt on the funding increase for higher education. But as of Friday morning, the boost was intact.

The 3% merit pool totals $36.4 million.

The regents voted 8-1 for the tuition and fee proposals; Regent Glen Gallegos, R-Grand Junction, said before voting no that he couldn’t favor the proposals because of the long-term impact at UCCS and CU Denver, both of which are critically reliant on enrollment and tuition revenue.

The compensation motion also passed with 8 votes; Regent Jack Kroll, D-Denver, abstained because he also is a CU Boulder employee and chooses not to vote on pay-related matters.

Read more on tuition details at CU Boulder in CU Boulder Today. Read more on tuition details at UCCS in Communique.

In other business at Friday’s meeting:

  • Kathy Nesbitt, vice president for administration, updated the board on the status of the Diversity Task Force, which regents approved at their February meeting. The five-person committee currently includes Nesbitt; Michael Lightner, vice president of academic affairs; and Regents Irene Griego, D-Lakewood; John Carson, R-Highlands Ranch; and Chair Sue Sharkey, R-Castle Rock. The committee had met once as of Friday’s meeting and planned to meet again this week. Nesbitt noted she has met several times with Lightner on behalf of the task force. The committee is initially focusing on two of the many aspects of diversity: Diversity among faculty and diversity of thought. “One of the things that we are looking to do is to separate those two topics,” Nesbitt said. In addition to the committee members, Joanne Addison, chair of the Faculty Council, planned to join this week’s meeting to discuss the faculty’s equity and inclusiveness recommendations, including salary equity across CU’s four campuses.
  • The regents approved CU’s first bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work at UCCS. Read more in Communique.

Cathy Beuten contributed to this report.