A new proposal could raise tuition for all students and create additional increases for business, engineering and computer science majors over the next three to four years.
The plan, which was released by CSU President Larry Penley’s office on Monday, outlines options of raising tuition in a few different ways in order to increase university income. This funding would go to providing need-based scholarships, hiring new professors, retaining current ones and increasing the number of class sections.
The proposal needs to be passed by the Board of Governors of the CSU System, after which it would be given to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. After these two make adjustments, the proposal would be passed to the Colorado General Assembly and then must be signed by Gov. Bill Owens. Linda Kuk, vice president of Student Affairs, said the final numbers would be finalized in May or early June.
Associated Students of CSU President Jesse Lauchner said he thinks the majority of CSU students will be against a tuition hike, but he hopes they will understand that it is only a proposal right now.
“There’s nothing to really like about a tuition increase, but I am happy to see that there is a plan that lays out and shows where the money goes,” he said.
According to the proposal, the first option for raising funds suggests increasing tuition by $300 a year for the next four years for all students. The proposal estimates this increase would raise roughly $25.8 million for the university at the end of the four years.
The other option in the proposal is to change the definition of a full-time student from nine credit hours to 12 credit hours. This would increase the per-credit hour rate so that at the end of three years, a full-time student would pay $969.30 more per year than they currently do.
The second option would also add an additional $240 increase over four years so that tuition would reach the $1,200 proposed increase for all students.
The second part of the proposal creates a plan for differential tuition in the College of Business, College of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science.
This would require students in the College of Business to pay $450 per year, in addition to the proposed overall general increases. Students in the College of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science would pay an additional $225 per year along with the other proposed increases.
Jonathan Carter, a senior mechanical engineering major, does not think that students in different majors should be required to pay different tuitions.
“Why should it make a difference what program you enter? Even if the demand is high, it should make it more exclusive for kids that are less fortunate than others,” he said.
Kuk said that the main reason for the differential tuition is that the majors chosen are more expensive to run than others. She also said that people who graduate in the high-demand areas usually earn more after graduating, so they can afford to pay more.
Aaron Reed, a junior mechanical engineering student, does not agree with the reasons given by the proposal and said the tuition increase would make higher education less affordable for non-traditional students.
“I have to work and raise a family and don’t get enough financial aid as it is. It’s ridiculous,” Reed said.
Not every student is against a tuition hike. Chad Finnigsmier, a junior animal sciences major, understands that the university needs money to run and that sometimes it has to come from the students.
“I love this school, they keep taking my money and I never complain,” he said.
The proposal also plans for the money to be allocated into areas of high student interest. According to the proposal, money from the tuition hike would be used for the recruitment of high-quality professional staff and to create incentives for current staff to stay.
Money from the tuition raised would also be used to reduce class sizes, create more class sections, and improve academic advising and honors programs.
Twenty-five percent of the money raised from the tuition increase would be given to Student Financial Services to create more scholarships for need-based students.
“State funding has limited the scholarship opportunities, so one of the university’s commitments to the institution is to do all it can to support students scholarships and access to a CSU education,” said Tom Milligan, a university spokesman.
The proposal states that the tuition increase’s main goal is to raise the value of a CSU degree, which has a direct link to the quality of CSU programs, facilities, students and faculty.
“It’s college, it’s expensive and I know it is,” he said, “but I have a basic faith that all these things are making my degree more valuable.”
Lauchner also said that before the proposal would move any further, student opinion and reaction would be gathered so that the student voice could be accurately reflected.
“We’re really interested in gauging student opinion. We invite any concerned student to come by the office or give us a call.”