Jan 282010
Authors: Matt Minich

CSU undergraduates could pay 9 percent –– or $434 –– more for tuition next school year, university officials announced in a preliminary budget report this week.

The increase is part of a draft of the university’s operating budget for fiscal year 2011 that assumes the Colorado appropriations committee will allow state institutions of higher education the authority to raise tuition that much.

Under the proposal, graduate students would see even greater increases, with a 15 percent or $917.20 jump in tuition for in-state students and a 5 percent, or $905.45 for students coming from out of state.

Out-of-state students will pay an additional 3 percent, or $622.

The increase will mean $13 million in new money for the university, should enrollment remain flat.

The proposed increases mirror the tuition hike students saw for fiscal year 2010, which increased in-state tuition by 9 percent. The increases brought the average annual tuition and fees for an in-state student to $6,318.

Administrators announced the proposed increases at budget discussion hearings Wednesday, where deans and department heads gathered to discuss what they call “budget 2.0”: a proposed budget for FY11.

According to the draft, the university will need to cover more than $3 million in new expenses created by Financial Aid inflation, maintenance of new buildings and other causes in 2011.

These new expenses come at time when the university has been left at about $12 million under budget by a barrage of cuts to the state’s higher education funding.

Dan Gearhart, the president of the Associated Students of CSU, said that tuition increases are “necessary but unfortunate” in the university’s current fiscal environment.

“It’s something students have to give if they want the same quality education,” he said.
Gearhart, who pays his tuition with a $7,500 student loan, added that the increases would put increased pressure on students receiving financial aid.

Since his freshman year, Gearhart has seen more and more of his loans consumed by rising tuition costs. This year, he said, the money has covered little more than his tuition and books.

While yearly tuition increases have come to be viewed as a normal occurrence over the last decade, the increases announced Wednesday are far from official.

“We’re still just making proposals to the campus at this moment for discussion,” said Interim Provost Rick Miranda.
Miranda said it was unlikely that any budget for next year would be written without some kind of jump in tuition, but stressed that no increases are final.

“The ultimate decision on the budget is the president’s,” he said. Frank will choose a finalized budget and present it to the university’s Board of Governors later this spring.

News Editor Matt Minich can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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