University of Colorado forgos tuition hikes in response to coronavirus
The University of Colorado’s Board of Regents voted Tuesday to hold tuition flat for nearly all students across the system’s four campuses for the 2020-2021 academic year — an unprecedented move intended to reduce the financial burden on students amid the coronavirus pandemic, school leaders said.
CU officials said they could not remember a time in university history that tuition levels were not raised from one year to the next.
Colorado residents and out-of-state students from all campuses will see no tuition increase, aside from out-of-state nursing students at the Anschutz Medical Campus, who will face a 3% tuition increase.
Regents approved the measure Tuesday in an 8-1 vote. Regent Sue Sharkey, R-Castle Rock, voted against the proposal because she said she wanted tuition not only to remain flat, but to decrease.
“Although there would have been times I would have applauded a 0% tuition increase, I think during this particular time, we need to be taking a look at the difficult challenges our students are facing,” Sharkey said during the virtual board meeting. “I still believe the university can take deeper cuts. We should be starting at the executive level with salary increases currently being considered and likely voted on soon.”
With tuition holding flat, undergraduate students at CU will be charged the following for the 2020-2021 year:
- CU Boulder in-state students to pay $10,728 for 30 credit hours compared to $36,546 for out-of-state students
- CU Colorado Springs in-state students to pay $8,850 for 30 credit hours compared to $23,970 for out-of-state students
- CU Denver in-state students to pay $9,900 for 30 credit hours compared to $30,510 for out-of-state students
- CU Anschutz in-state students to pay $13,110 for 30 credit hours compared to $28,260 for out-of-state students
On the Boulder campus, students already receive four-year locked tuition rates, so the university’s annual increases apply only to new students.
“Affordability has always been a big primary commitment at CU and these are challenging times not only for us but for our students and their families,” said Todd Saliman, CU vice president and chief financial officer. “We want to do everything we can to keep CU an affordable option.”
Regent Jack Kroll, D-Denver, suggested regents should discuss tuition again when there is more clarity about what college in the fall will look like, adding that he thinks students should pay less if all their classes are held remotely.
Saliman said he could not speculate on the possibility of further lowering tuition as the future remains clouded, but he said flexibility was always an option.
Regents also voted on mandatory student fees — which will decrease for the Boulder campus, remain flat for the Anschutz campus and increase for the Denver and Colorado Springs campuses — and voted on a 0% compensation increase for CU employees for the upcoming academic year.
The votes came as the state hashed out how to fund Colorado’s public education institutions amid the economically-damaging coronavirus pandemic. A $73.6 million increase to the state’s higher education funding previously approved by the Joint Budget Committee has already been eliminated due to the pandemic, CU officials said Tuesday.
Colorado stands 48th in the nation for funding higher education.
Colleges across the state remain locked in a vicious cycle of relying on student enrollment to see them through financial hardship at a time when many are unsure as of mid-May how they’re going to reopen in the midst of a pandemic, whether classes will continue remotely and how they’re going to safely house students when social distancing is key to slowing the spread of the virus.
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