Tuition rates for 2014-15 set by Board of Regents

Increases well below state-mandated ceiling

The University of Colorado Board of Regents on Friday approved tuition rates throughout the system for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

In most cases, the increases affecting resident undergraduate tuition are about 3.4 percent, well below the 6 percent expected to be allowed this year by state lawmakers, as well as below last year’s rates of increase across the CU system, which ranged from 6 percent to 8.7 percent.

The board voted 7-2 in favor of the slate of rates recommended by university administration, which presented information to the board during its meeting at system administration offices in Denver. Regents James Geddes, R-Sedalia, and Joe Neguse, D-Broomfield, voted against the proposed tuition rates.

“Thanks to a rare increase in state funding, this year’s increase is among the lowest in the past 10 years,” Chair Michael Carrigan, D-Denver, wrote in a letter sent this week to CU governance group leaders. “The Board of Regents is grateful for the bipartisan support for increased higher education funding from the governor and General Assembly.”

Senate Bill 1, now in process at the Capitol, would deliver $100 million in increased funding for higher education, a boost first proposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Approved tuition rates vary by program. Unless otherwise noted, rates of increase listed here – from the resolution voted on by the board – pertain to resident undergraduate base tuition:

University of Colorado Colorado Springs: up to 3.4 percent, or up to $254 for an academic year (30 student credit hours). Read more on the UCCS details here.

University of Colorado Denver: up to 3.5 percent, or up to $296 for an academic year (30 student credit hours, arts and sciences)

University of Colorado Boulder: likely 3.3 percent; up to 3.4 percent, or up to $298 for an academic year (30 student credit hours, arts and sciences)

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus: up to 6 percent, or up to $21.50 per credit hour (undergraduate nursing students)

The tuition rates are qualified as “up to” because administrators will be working on budget proposals in the coming weeks, and will keep the increases as low as possible – and no higher than the ceiling figures listed.

Before the vote, Geddes presented his Plan X for tuition, which would have entailed striking out tuition increases for resident undergraduates, he said. He criticized the administration and Board of Regents for “not insisting our expenditures come under better control.” As examples, he pointed to academic program redundancies among campuses – three business schools, for example – and construction of new buildings such as the one planned for CU-Boulder’s Euclid Autopark.

Regent Steve Bosley, R-Longmont, said what the campuses proposed were “realistic, modest increases.”

Said Regent Sue Sharkey, R-Castle Rock, “Tuition increases must be justified, and I think they have been justified. … The campuses clearly identified the needs that additional tuition revenue would serve.”

President Bruce Benson said he likes to remind people that “we are a market economy in higher education,” and noted that average faculty salaries at CU-Boulder are below the averages of some peer institutions. “It’s important to remember this is a market and we have to continue to drive forward.”

“I hate (tuition increases) as much as anyone in this room,” Benson said. “But we’re holding it down to as low as 3 percent. … I think the staff has done a heck of a lot of work to come up with these proposals, and I’m certainly in favor of them.”