Regents pass small tuition increase, 3 percent compensation boost

Board asks for more planning, scrutiny on long-term costs, student fees

The Board of Regents on Friday passed a modest tuition increase for the University of Colorado campuses and a 3 percent compensation pool for employees.

Before the vote, Regent John Carson introduced a budget proposal to amend Article 13 of the Laws of the Regents to control expenditure growth, limit tuition increases and add spending restraints into the university’s five-year budget plan.

“I just want to express my feelings that we as regents need to get a better handle on the long-term budget picture,” said Carson, R-Highlands Ranch. “Costs have got to be controlled in the long run. I will vote ‘yes’ today, but I hope by next year we have more of a long-term budget program in place.”

Chair Sue Sharkey, R-Castle Rock, and Regent Jack Kroll, D-Denver, said they also would like to further examine student fees.

“We need to continue to look into the cost of education, the entire cost,” Sharkey said. “Student fees have gone up dramatically, but that’s not what we talk about because that’s not the sexy headline.”

Todd Saliman, vice president of finance and CFO, presented the budget to the board at its April 5-6 meeting at CU Colorado Springs. He had first presented the budget at the February meeting and affirmed the budget request remained pretty much the same. (See the presentation here.)

Tuition and fees for typical undergraduates will increase 1.22 percent at CU Denver, 2.57 percent at CU Colorado Springs and 3.71 percent at CU Boulder for freshmen and transfer students. The guarantee of no tuition increase remains in place for continuing students at CU Boulder.

With the elimination of some course and program fees, many CU Boulder students will see a decline in costs, which will vary from $1 to $1,200 with a $34 average, Saliman said. CU Denver students also will see an average $43 decline in fees and CU Colorado Springs students will see fees increase by nearly $22.

The low tuition increase and the largest salary pool in three years is the result of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s state budget proposal, which has been approved by the House and Senate and is now headed into conference. State higher education institutions are set to receive $82.2 million; CU’s portion is $18.9 million.

The CU Board of Regents will vote on the final budget at its June meeting, after the state budget has been set by the Legislature.