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CSU System Board approves budget, tuition and fees

May 9, 2014

The Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System voted to accept budget and tuition proposals submitted by two of the system's campuses -- CSU in Fort Collins and the CSU-Global Campus -- for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The budget for CSU-Pueblo will be considered at the board's June meeting.

The FY2015 operating budgets for each unit are as follows:

  • CSU – $993 million, compared to $952.7 for FY2014
  • CSU-Global Campus – $56 million, compared to $34.6 million for FY2014

“The level of support we receive from state lawmakers has a direct impact on tuition, and this year’s boost in state funding for higher education means Colorado’s only land-grant university will be able hold next year’s tuition increase to very modest levels,” Chancellor Mike Martin said. “This will enhance the value proposition of CSU in Fort Collins, where the tuition remains well below that of peer research universities both in Colorado and across the nation. We will continue, however, to look for ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency across all three CSU System campuses to ensure that our institutions offer both high quality and remarkable value.”

State lawmakers this year pumped $100 million into the state’s higher education system for the 2015 fiscal year. Of that, $30 million will pay for need-based financial aid, $10 million will go toward merit-based aid and the remaining $60 million will be divvied up among public institutions to cover operating costs. The increase in funding will deliver about $12.1 million in additional state dollars to the CSU System for the coming fiscal year. Overall, state funding for higher education remains about $100 million below peak levels from FY2009.

Resident undergraduate tuition at CSU in Fort Collins will be $7,868 in FY2015, a $374 increase over the previous year. That is below proposed in-state tuition rates at peer institutions such as Michigan State, University of California-Davis, Purdue, Washington State, Virginia Tech and the University of Illinois. For a Colorado comparison, resident undergraduate tuition for arts and sciences students at CU-Boulder for FY2015 will be $9,048. The per-credit-hour undergraduate tuition rate at CSU-Global Campus, which receives no state funding, will continue to be $449.

Student fees at CSU will be $1,939 next year, up 12.1 percent or $210 from the previous year. These fees are approved by the student governments of each campus to help fund a range of specific services, such as student recreation, the student health network, and facilities. CSU-Global Campus, which is a 100 percent online university, does not charge student fees.

“Colorado State is remarkably strong financially and continues to grow, thrive and deliver a strong return on investment for our students, state taxpayers and the broader Colorado economy,” said Tony Frank, president of CSU in Fort Collins. “Additional state support this year will help ensure that a high-quality education from CSU, one of the nation’s top research institutions, remains attainable and a real value for Colorado students and families.”

Over the years the burden of paying for higher education has shifted from state government to students. Twenty years ago, the state paid two-thirds of the cost of educating a resident student; today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, the state pays only about one-third. That trend toward defunding higher education in Colorado is the biggest driver of tuition increases at CSU.

“We are very much appreciative of the leadership exhibited by the governor and state lawmakers for the decision to increase public support for public colleges and universities, but we remain concerned about the long-term sustainability of higher education funding in Colorado,” Frank said. “Despite this year’s good news, researchers at the Colorado Futures Center at CSU believe the trend is actually impossible for the state to maintain as we look further into the future. We continue to encourage taxpayers, lawmakers and business leaders to work with the higher education community to begin crafting a solution now that will ensure Colorado’s higher education system is strong and viable for many generations to come.”

CSU-Pueblo has been going through some financial challenges this year due to declining enrollment. The CSU System Board of Governors recently approved $5 million in aid for the Pueblo campus, which is also reducing expenses for the next fiscal year by $3.3 million. The Board will consider additional investments and take a more detailed look at CSU-Pueblo’s proposed FY2015 budget during its June meeting, when the university will have a fuller sense of enrollment projections for the upcoming academic year.