With constant tuition raises, some in-state students are grateful they stayed in Colorado for college. Three of Colorado's largest universities, CSU, University of Northern Colorado (UNC) and University of Colorado (CU), hiked tuition somewhat drastically since the 2002-03 school year. However, the College Opportunity Fund can reduce the effects of skyrocketing tuition for Colorado residents.
"I would hope students value the financial aid the state is putting toward higher education. Some students automatically expect not to pay as much money because of all the forms of financial aid. But the state really does try," said Alec Jeffries, director of Legislative Affairs at CSU.
Universities hiked the tuition because of Tax Payers Bill of Rights (TABOR). TABOR limited the amount of money the state could keep, and because public institutions are funded by the state, they were not getting substantial state funding to pay for the increasing numbers of students enrolling in college each year. Therefore, universities were forced to raise tuition due to inadequate state funding.
During the 2002-03 school year, CSU's tuition for in-state residents was $3,744. For the 2005-06 school year, it rose to $4,532 – a 21 percent increase. CU tuition has been more drastic, rising 50 percent since 2002. The current tuition rate for CU students is $5,372, up from the 2002-03 rate of $3,566. CU is the most expensive public university in the state. However, while it is the most costly, students at UNC have suffered the worst wrath of tuition hikes. In 2002-03, tuition was $2,290. For the current school year, rates have risen to $3,837 – a 67 percent increase. The increase is high, yet UNC still remains more affordable than both CU and CSU.
Jan Blewett, junior apparel and merchandising major at CSU, is glad he stayed in state because the COF softens the blow of tuition increases.
"I like not paying as much," he said. "Being a college student, it's hard to get money, so it's a nice little break for us."