Faculty housing assistance benefit a tool for recruitment, retention

Faculty Council hears update on CU-backed loans, guarantees

With all the appeal that life in Colorado carries for so many, it comes with an increasingly daunting hurdle: the cost of a home.

So while benefits collectively may play a key role in recruiting and retaining faculty across the University of Colorado, none might be more persuasive in the current real estate market than CU’s Faculty Housing Assistance Program.

In place since the Board of Regents approved it in 2001, the benefit consists of two loan programs available to tenure and tenure-track faculty: a shared-appreciation loan (30 years) of up to $80,000, which is essentially free of interest; and a loan guarantee, where CU acts as an additional party in a loan from lender to home buyer, guaranteeing the loan.

“We view this certainly as a benefit to faculty and tenure-track faculty that helps with your recruitment and retention,” said Dan Wilson, CU treasurer, chief investment officer and associate vice president for budget and finance. He spoke to the Faculty Council at its March 9 meeting at 1800 Grant St. “It’s not entire-career help, but early career help.”

A partnership between CU and the CU Foundation, the program currently is overseen by a committee consisting of Wilson; Ravinder Singh, Faculty Council chair; Kathy Nesbitt, vice president, employee and information services; Jeff Cox, CU Boulder vice chancellor; Mike Pritchard, CU Foundation; and Alexis Kelly, CU assistant treasurer.

In 2016, the program closed on 21 new shared-appreciation loans and 29 new loan guarantees. Since 2004, the program has closed on a total of 366 loans, representing funding of $25.87 million.

Interested faculty apply for the benefit via an online application, Wilson said. Including review by the treasury staff and confirmation of appointment at the campus level, the loan closing process lasts nine months.

Administration has worked to further promote the benefit recently; this was the second annual update on the program Wilson has provided to the Faculty Council.

Discussion at last week’s meeting included a call for expansion of the benefit.

UCCS’ Bita Rivas, chair of the Faculty Council’s budget committee, said such a recruiting tool should also be available to non-tenure-track faculty, who are even more disadvantaged by housing costs.

“The fact that we don’t have anything to support non-tenure-track faculty shows an inequity,” Rivas said.

Wilson noted that the existing benefit took root as a faculty initiative. “If it’s expanded,” he said, “that’s where it would start.”

Said Singh, “Let’s keep the discussion going.”

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