After what seemed like a short wait for any change regarding university finances, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education Thursday gave Colorado State University the flexibility to raise tuition by 20 percent.
A $1,050-per-year increase sounds like a lot of money for broke college kids. It is. But don’t worry.
University administrators say they aren’t looking to go beyond the traditional 9 percent increase in the coming fiscal year.
If you’re thinking: Man, how can CSU afford to install that fancy water feature in front of the Education Building when my tuition could go up 20 percent, it’s crucial to understand that the $500 million in campus-wide construction is funded mostly through loans CSU has taken out on Wall Street.
Of that $500 million, only a few million comes from student fees, which were approved by the University Facility Fee Advisory Board and other university entities.
It is important, too, to understand Colorado can no longer sustain higher education in its current state.
Ranked 49th in the nation, only above California in higher education funding, Colorado has sustained millions of dollars in cuts to the cause.
In 2009, CSU saw state allocations drop by $30 million and by another $45 million in 2010. In the current fiscal year, the $45 million lost in state funding was restored but federal stimulus money was cut nearly in half –– going from $30 million to $16.6 million.
Even though CSU has set up measures to bring in money, it still needs more. And with dwindling state support, tuition is the only way.
Gov. Bill Ritter revealed Thursday a possible long-term fix: increasing sales, income and
property taxes to bring in $1.5 billion for higher ed, doubling current funding.
And while we must wait to see the plan’s outcome, tuition hikes are a small bandage covering a gushing wound.