Lawmakers gave CSU and other state colleges the authority to raise tuition for out-of-state students on Wednesday.
CSU and the University of Colorado-Boulder are limited to increasing tuition to 7 percent this year, but that cap will now only apply for in-state students.
Colorado is now dead last in the nation for state funding of higher education.
Lawmakers and student leaders warned that large increases for out-of-state students could have unintended consequences that end up costing CSU money – by driving away out-of-state students, who pay more to attend.
“I really hope CSU doesn’t decide to get too greedy and make it so that less people will come,” said Luke Ragland, director of legislative affairs for ASCSU.
It’s unclear how much CSU tuition for out-of-state students will increase, and the university isn’t expected to decide on the increase until June.
Some nonresident students were livid on Wednesday.
“That’s just picking on out-of-state students,” said Patrick Klippen, a senior landscape design major. The Virginia native pays $24,000 a year to attend CSU.
The colleges and universities affected by the measure will be limited to raising tuition to “reflect market conditions” compared to other similar institutions nationwide, said Sen. Maryanne Keller, a member of the Joint Budget Committee, which unanimously approved the measure.
Tuition for full-time, nonresident CSU students this year was $14,994. Last June, the CSU board of governors approved an increase in out-of-state tuition by 4.5 percent – or $342 – about $331 less per semester than peer institutions.
Keller said the legislation was conceived after CSU administrators pushed two weeks ago without success for an additional $34 million in spending authority that would have been paid for by students.
The much-criticized last-minute amendment that would have given CSU this authority was defeated 18-15.
But the proposed measure shined a spotlight on funding of higher education in Colorado, especially how CSU is treated in relation to other Colorado institutions.
“It’s an alternative,” Keller said of the new legislation that allows larger increase for out-of-state students.
Staff writers Emily Polak and J. David McSwane contributed to the report.
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