May 022012
 
Authors: Kate Simmons and Austin Briggs

On Wednesday afternoon, approximately 30 people watched CSU’s Board of Governors approve the university’s $459 million general budget, including a 9 percent tuition hike for in-state students for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Under the new budget, full-time on-campus tuition and fees will increase an average $607. In-state undergraduates will pay $6,875 annually next year while non-residents will pay $22,667.

“I think it’s unfortunate students are going to be burdened with an additional increase on top of the 15 to 21 percent increase from last year,” said Associated Students of CSU President and non-voting BOG member Eric Berlinberg.

“I do think that what the increases are going toward increase the value of a degree,” he added.

The budget was passed with five board members in favor, one against and three abstaining from the vote. Scott Johnson was the only board member who did not approve the 2012-13 budget.

“I didn’t have all my questions answered and I wanted to take more time (before voting),” Johnson said. “(The board was) moving a little quicker than I was comfortable with.”

The budget also gives university professors and staff raises for the first time since a mandatory pay freeze put into place in 2008.

“After three years of some of the toughest budgets in CSU history, we’re very pleased to bring forward a budget that keeps tuition increases in the single digits and provides the first pay increase to our employees in four years,” said CSU President Tony Frank in a news release.

Last year, state funding decreased by $23 million. Over the last four years, funding has decreased by a combined total of more than $39 million.

Overall, state funding provided to CSU will decrease by $2.25 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year to $91.2 million.

“While we’re still taking a reduction in state funding, it’s far less than what we had built into our original budget planning last fall –– all of which means that our faculty, staff and students can breathe a bit easier after several years of deep cuts,” Frank said. “This is all very good news for CSU.”

The BOG also approved construction projects on CSU’s campus, which will continue next year. There will be an addition to the Behavioral Sciences Building, renovation of Eddy Hall and the Equine Reproduction Laboratory will be rebuilt after it was destroyed in a fire last year.

The total cost of the construction projects will be $19.1 million dollars. The money to pay for these projects will come from Level Debt Service Loans, unbudgeted tuition revenue, student tuition fee funds and interest from bonds.

In the public comments section of the meeting, five members from Save our Stadium Hughes (SOS) came to voice their concerns about an on-campus stadium to the Board of Governors. No one in support of the on-campus stadium appeared at the meeting. The public brought no other issues to the board’s attention during this section of the meeting.

Karl Wangsvick, a Fort Collins resident, member of SOS and parent to three CSU graduates, pointed to a study that said alums are more likely to donate to the areas of campus life they participated in while they were students. He believes that there’s no correlation between athletics and donations.

“That’s dinosaur thinking,” Wangsvick said in regards to thinking athletic funding is going to increase revenue for the entire university. “It’s not smart when the fiscal crisis meteor is heading our way.”

Frank informed the Board of Governors that the stadium advisory committee should have their report finished by May 30 and he will hold off on making a decision whether to pursue construction of an on-campus stadium until next fall when the majority of students and faculty are back on campus.

“I am not going to make recommendations over the summer,” Frank said. “I don’t want to portray the image of making decisions while people are not around.”

Collegian writers Kate Simmons and Austin Briggs can be reached at news@collegian.com

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