Board approves $3.28 billion operating budget

Financial aid increases dramatically, with CU distributing more to its students than the state provides to all students

The CU Board of Regents on Friday approved a $3.28 billion operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year (FY); CU’s operating budget for the 2013-14 FY was $3.04 billion. The vote was 8-0, with Regent James Geddes not in attendance.

The FY 2014-15 operating budget reflects an overall increase of $147.5 million, 4.7 percent more than the current-year June estimate. Resident tuition revenue is projected to increase by $8.3 million or 2.1 percent and nonresident tuition by $30.2 million or 8.1 percent. Direct state funding is increasing by $16.1 million or 9.8 percent.

Other areas of increased revenues include clinical services ($49.0 million), and auxiliary operating revenues ($16.8 million). State tobacco funding is an area with decreasing revenues ($468,452).

“One of the areas where CU’s spending has increased dramatically the past 10 years is financial aid,” said Todd Saliman, vice president and chief financial officer. “The campuses have really increased their financial aid, in part because the state has not been keeping up over time.”

CU’s contribution to financial aid is collectively greater than the state’s financial aid contributions to all higher education institutions in the state, he said.

“The state of Colorado does not put as much money into financial aid as CU does alone,” Saliman explained. “Since FY 2004-05, CU has invested an additional $90.3 million in financial aid, a 180 percent increase. “

In the last legislative session – in addition to the 11 percent operating increase for higher education – the state approved its largest increase in financial aid.

“I would love to see those kinds of increases in the future,” Saliman said. “I think it’s unlikely. So this is probably the largest increase in financial aid that we’ll see in a while.”

CU-Boulder will receive about 5 percent of its general fund budget from the state; UCCS’s allocation is about 10 percent, CU Denver’s is near 10 percent and CU Anschutz Medical Campus is about 5 percent. CU Anschutz will receive $70.3 million, or 31 percent of its operating budget, from the state to support the infrastructure.

“Thirty percent of the budget sounds like a big number,” explained Lilly Marks, vice president for health affairs and executive vice chancellor at Anschutz Medical Campus. “But it’s not 30 percent of our budget, it’s 30 percent of the unrestricted budget, and that’s hard money to replace.”

Other than Colorado School of Mines, which approved a 3.0 percent tuition increase, and CSU-Pueblo, which has yet to vote on a tuition increase, CU kept tuition rates at the lowest in the state – between 3.2 and 3.5 percent.

With the $100 million in additional higher education funding approved earlier this year by the Legislature, institutions were to put a cap on tuition at 6 percent for the next two years. Tonya Kelly-Bowry, vice president for government relations, told the regents that legislators appreciated the low increase in tuition.

“Both sides of the aisle said that they were appreciative of the regents and the setting of tuition that you chose,” she said.

CU Board of Regents Chair Michael Carrigan emphasized the board’s appreciation for the increase in funding.

“It was a historic investment in higher education and it is appreciated,” he said. “There is a direct line between the amount of state appropriations we get and the amount of tuition we must charge students. We hope that this small correction will be a change in course for the state of Colorado to get serious about investing in higher education.”

The board will discuss the budget at its September meeting including compensation and enrollment.