CSU President Tony Frank said at a board meeting on the universityâ€™s fiscal year 2011 budget Monday that tuition could double in coming years as he expects Colorado to cease higher education funding within the next half a decade.
â€œThe state will try to wash its hands of the regulatory side of higher education,â€ said Frank, who is normally optimistic about the future of CSU.
The announcement came after the newest budget projection from the state heralded an additional cut of $1.4 million in state funding from the universityâ€™s operating budget, totaling an overall deficit of $13.4 million.
Frank expressed mounting frustration during the Student Fee Review Boardâ€™s weekly meeting, saying that a privatized model for the stateâ€™s higher education system is unsustainable but increasingly likely.
â€œPrivatizing higher education is bad public policy,â€ he said. â€œI donâ€™t know what defunded higher education is other than private.â€
Tim Hole, the vice president of the Associated Students of CSU, said that, while he agrees the state will continue to gradually stop financing higher education, he said he doesnâ€™t think the state can â€œget itself completely out of higher ed.â€
If the state proposal allowing universities complete control over tuition hikes passes, Hole said he couldnâ€™t imagine CSU deciding on an increase of more than 20 percent in a given year.
He said institutions have to strike a balance between affordable tuition and academic quality.
â€œEvery time you see a tuition increase, Tony Frank has to sit in his office and in one hand say â€˜accessâ€™ and in the other hand say â€˜excellence,â€™â€ he said.
Hole added that CSUâ€™s tuition will remain competitive unless it faces further crippling cuts to state funding.
In one visible move toward privatization, Colorado has stopped defining public money it grants institutions as â€œappropriations,â€ renaming it â€œfees for serviceâ€ that colleges and universities provide to the state community.
â€œThere is a huge switch in the nature of our revenues here,â€ said Lynn Johnson, associate vice president for Finance.
The current draft of 2011â€™s budget slates undergraduate resident tuition to increase 9 percent, while undergraduate non-resident tuition will rise 3 percent, which has been the typical increase over the last decade.
While tuition will rise, Frank said each of the universityâ€™s colleges is attempting to shelter its students from the funding fallout by making cuts from administrative positions and offering more need-based financial aid.
Students, though, have already seen the impact of these cuts, Hole said, citing a recent faculty drain as departments choose not to fill vacated positions.
â€œYouâ€™d not only see the loss of faculty,â€ if CSU keeps getting hit with $12 million budget cuts, he said. â€œYouâ€™ll see them running.â€
Staff Writer Lincoln Greenhaw and Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at email@example.com.