Oct 072004
 
Authors: Lila Hickey

Tuition increases for the 2005 and 2006 school year could range

from 5 percent for out-of-state students to 21 percent for resident

undergraduates. On Wednesday, the Board of Governors for the CSU

System gave preliminary approval for a significant tuition increase

for the coming school year.

The tuition increases are a combination of straight fee

increases and a change in what constitutes full-time student

status, said Keith Ickes, interim vice president for administrative

affairs.

“Non-resident tuition increases by $676 for undergraduates and

$705 for graduates, and resident undergraduate tuition goes up by

$265, plus we move consolidated tuition to 10 credit hours per

semester (an increase of $356 per year),” according the Board of

Governors’ proposed budgetary changes.

Previously, a class load of nine credit hours per semester was

considered full-time status. The change in full-time status means

that students will have to take one more credit per semester before

they receive a flat full-time student rate, Ickes said.

Students may also receive various student fee increases for the

coming year, said Associated Students of CSU President Katie

Clausen.

Each year, the university’s administration predicts total costs

and revenue for the coming year, and if necessary, calculates the

increase in revenue required to keep the university

operational.

The tuition increase, recommended by the Board of Governors’

budget committee, is an effort to match projected university

revenues and costs for the 2005 to 2006 school year.

Tuition and state funding are CSU’s largest sources of revenue,

said Ed Bowditch, the vice chancellor for administrative affairs.

Now, with the state government facing budget problems of its own,

CSU may have to raise tuition to fill funding gaps.

“A big unknown at this point is the level of state funding

through the College Opportunity Fund through the next year,”

Bowditch said.

The College Opportunity Fund would allot Colorado high school

students vouchers, or stipends, to attend in-state institutions and

would also allow universities to pursue enterprise status, giving

them more control over university financing and tuition.

Tom Milligan, CSU spokesman, stressed the uncertainty of the

tuition hikes.

“The final outcome is still a ways away,” he said.

Clausen agreed, noting the difficulty of predicting revenue and

costs a year in advance. Last year, CSU administration officials

predicted a tuition increase of 40 percent for the 2004 to 2005

school year, she said.

Ultimately, tuition increased by only 1.1 percent last year, a

relatively low rate, Bowditch said.

Ickes said the 40 percent increase prediction was based on

assumptions that the state would have to drastically reduce funding

to higher education because of a state budgetary crisis.

“The legislation, very, very early (last year) was looking at a

huge state deficit,” Ickes said.

Statistics from the Board of Governors indicate that CSU’s 1.1

percent increase was one of the state’s lowest. The University of

Colorado-Boulder, by comparison, raised tuition by 9 percent last

year, and Colorado School of Mines faced 11.2 percent hikes.

“Nobody likes to see tuition increases, but there is a certain

point at which (it’s necessary),” Milligan said. “It’s still going

to be a tremendously good value.”

Clausen sympathized with students who work full time to afford a

college education.

“It’s difficult for students to maintain multiple jobs, and

incur all those loans,” she said.

Still, she said, the tuition increases may be unavoidable.

“It’s either we pay, or the doors close,” Clausen said.

But students don’t need to panic quite yet. The Board of

Governors cannot increase tuition without approval from various

state entities, including the Colorado Commission on Higher

Education and the state legislature.

Maria Bennett, ASCSU’s director of legislative affairs, said the

Board of Governors is accountable to the CCHE, which is, in turn,

accountable to both the state legislature and the governor.

“In essence, CCHE is just kind of like a third arm of Gov. Bill

Owens,” Bennett said. “If we don’t have Gov. Owens on board with

any of the things we do, it’s not going to go anywhere.”

In past years, the state of Colorado has paid for maintenance

costs on the CSU campus. Clausen offered such examples as replacing

light bulbs and fixing leaky ceilings as costs previously covered

by the state’s approximately $250 million Capital Construction

Fund.

But Colorado’s recent financial problems have completely

absorbed the fund, she said. Now, students may have to pay for

upkeep costs on university buildings.

A new facility fee may also be introduced, and it could be as

much as $150 per student, per semester, Clausen said. That money

would be used for a series of campus construction projects, such as

adding to the Rockwell Hall, renovating the Clark Building and

adding to the Engineering Building.

“We would ensure that every major had some impact on the money

spent there,” Clausen said.

Another change in university financing recommended by the Board

of Governors is the introduction of differential tuition for

business, engineering and computer science classes. Students taking

classes in these departments would be required to pay an additional

per-credit fee. Business classes would charge $19 for every credit,

while engineering and computer science majors would require

approximately $12.50 per credit, according to the board’s

proposal.

“It’s not unreasonable to request this; it’s been done before,”

Ickes said, noting that the state legislature had approved similar

changes at CU.

Still, Christian McFarland, a senior civil engineering major,

has felt the change.

“It’s noticeable for sure, and I guess it pushes people to get

out faster,” McFarland said. “It does make it harder.”

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