Regents examine revised tuition proposals; vote expected in April

Board asks campuses for option minus compensation pool
Ric Porreca

Ric Porreca presented regents with a multiyear rate guarantee proposal

The University of Colorado Board of Regents on Wednesday heard revised 2012-13 tuition proposals for each of the university’s four campuses as well as a breakdown of how the tuition would be spent. A vote on tuition is expected in April.

The board had initially reviewed tuition proposals from the campuses during a Jan. 11 special meeting and had asked the administrative staff to develop alternative proposals that re-examined tuition increases and included elements of a linear model and a guaranteed rate model.

Each campus proposal included a merit-based salary pool of 3 percent for faculty and exempt professionals and a possible one-time bonus for classified staff. Under the proposals, employees earning $175,000 or more would not qualify for raises, and raises would be capped at $3,000 for employees earning between $100,000 and $175,000. Regents on Wednesday asked that each campus present tuition models that did not include the proposed compensation pool.

At Wednesday’s meeting at 1800 Grant St., Ric Porreca, senior vice chancellor and chief financial officer at CU-Boulder, presented regents with a multiyear rate guarantee proposal to be implemented in 2013, and a one-year proposal that calls for 1.7 percent credit hour rate increase, a 1.7 percent increase for part-time students and a move toward linearity – moving the maximum tuition rate increase for full-time students from 11.25 credit hours to 12 credit hours. The proposal called for a full-time tuition rate increase for students taking 12 or more credit hours by 8.6 percent.

The total estimated revenue generated from the tuition proposals would be $7.7 million, to counter a FY 2012 estimated state tax funding reduction of $6.4 million.

University of Colorado Colorado Springs Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance Brian Burnett outlined the UCCS proposal that called for a 7 percent rate increase, or $16 per credit hour. Full-time students taking 15 credit hours would pay $6,720 in 2012 and $7,200 in 2013. Total revenue generated is estimated at $6.6 million, countering $6.3 million in state funding cuts since 2009.

The CU Denver tuition strategy proposed undergraduate linearity within three years (FY 2012-13 to FY 2014-15) to close the linearity gap for resident undergraduate students taking between 13 and 18 credit hours.  Jeff Parker, vice chancellor of administration and finance, said that financial aid would be provided to resident undergraduate students so they would not experience more than a 9 percent increase during those years. The proposal also makes nonresident undergraduate rates linear during the next three years.  Total revenue generated would be $7.6 million for FY 2012, $1.8 million of which would offset cuts in state funding.

Parker said each school and college at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus assesses its peer situation annually and determines how much it can increase tuition in light of state economics, regent guidance, debt load and the peer market.

While guaranteed tuition rates are not feasible for the upcoming school year because of time restraints in implementation, the regents unanimously agreed to continue the discussion.

In the public comment period, student Carly Robinson, CU-Boulder Student Government vice president for internal affairs, encouraged the board to continue working toward guaranteed tuition. “It would be helpful to students and their families to have a multiyear plan,” she said.

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