Regents discussed tuiton matters at today's board meeting

By Chris Casey | University Communications

DENVER – The University of Colorado Board of Regents today discussed a variety of tuition strategies on the four campuses, including a proposal for tuition rate linearity on the Denver Campus for undergraduate resident students taking between 13 and 18 credit hours.

All of the tuition proposals discussed will be voted on at the April Board of Regents meeting.

On the Denver Campus, the move to a linear structure would be phased in over three years. The increase for Fall 2012 includes two parts. The first is an overall 4 percent base increase across all credit hours. The second is a structural change that moves the linearity of tuition from 13 credit hours, where it currently resides, to 15 credit hours. In addition, a buy-down of tuition will be provided to continuing students so that their overall increase is limited to 9 percent. The resulting weighted average increase for the entire undergraduate population, after a tuition buy-down through financial aid, results in 6.6 percent next year.

The linear model, which Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance Jeff Parker illustrated with a bar graph, shows undergraduate resident tuition making a gradual, linear climb from one credit up to 13 credits, where it currently flattens out, meaning students stop paying more per credit hour once they hit 13 credits.

“A third (of Denver undergraduate students) are above that level,” Parker said, meaning that the higher rates being phased in will only impact 33 percent of undergraduate students the first year, 13 percent in the second year and 2 percent in the final year.

“The additional financial aid next year will be to buy down the increase in the 14- and 15-credit hour bucket, so that those students only experience a 9 percent increase,” Parker said. “We have built in here a 4 percent inflationary increase for the other students, then we average the base and the linearity increase. With the increases on the linearity structural piece, that basically creates a 9.4 percent weighted average tuition increase for our entire student population.”

For graduate students on the Denver Campus, the largest tuition increase for next year will be 5 percent, but most are less in order for graduate enrollment to stay competitive, Parker said. The proposed structure will allow some progress toward linearity for graduate populations.

On the Anschutz Medical Campus, proposed tuition increases range from 3 percent for undergraduate residents in the College of Nursing (zero percent increase for nonresident nursing students) to 9 percent for resident students in the MD and DDS programs.

The tuition increases amount to $7.6 million in increased revenue next year for the Denver Campus and $6.3 million on the Anschutz Medical Campus. These revenues are proposed to be invested in a limited compensation pool, financial aid, mandated increases (such as utilities, health benefits, system overhead), and to cover anticipated cuts in state general funding for the campus. The planned expenditures are balanced for the Denver campus; however, the planned total expenditures on the Anschutz Campus for Fiscal Year 2012-13 were $6.6 million, without any investments in financial aid, controlled maintenance or maintaining quality.

“We actually have cuts that are in excess of our tuition increase for the Anschutz Campus which will have to be made up through other revenue sources,” Parker said.

The Regents also discussed transparency and salary pool issues, but nothing was decided at today’s meeting. A resolution drafted by Regent Sue Sharkey in support of HB12-1252, a bill concerning the creation of an online database on higher education financial information, was tabled at Sharkey’s request. She said the board needs more time to learn about the bill as well as receive input from CU faculty and staff and the general public.

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