Oct 032010
Authors: Allison Sylte

After saying this summer that tuition would only increase over the 9 percent state cap under “drastic circumstances,” a Colorado State University spokesman confirmed that the university submitted a proposal Friday to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education to do just that.

CSU submitted its proposal to the CCHE just minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline, CCHE spokeswoman Dawn Owens confirmed. And today, CSU spokesman Brad Bohlander said, the university will release information regarding the fall 2011 tuition increase.

All public universities in Colorado were given three months to evaluate looming budget problems. They were asked to devise a plan that would keep higher education accessible to lower- and middle-income students in order to request tuition hikes.

The budget projections will be evaluated and approved by the CCHE by Dec. 1 and may be adjusted once the fiscal year 2011 state budget is finalized in the spring.

Budget projections were only submitted to CCHE if they called for an increase over the state cap of 9 percent. According to Owens, proposals were expected from all 10 higher education governing boards in the state.

CU-Boulder submitted a proposal Friday afternoon asking for a 9.5 percent tuition hike, though school officials told the Boulder Daily Camera that they are optimistic this figure will be reduced once the state budget is finalized in the spring.

To gain the commission’s approval for a tuition hike of more than 9 percent, universities need to submit a five year “performance plan,” which outlines institutional improvements in access, graduation rates, quality of instruction, student employment opportunities and operational efficiency.

If these guidelines are not met, CCHE has the power to roll back tuition and deny access to future tuition increases.
CCHE has no jurisdiction over tuition increases for out-of-state and graduate students.

These guidelines are mandated by Senate Bill 3, a piece of legislation created to offset the state higher education funding crisis by allowing governing boards greater flexibility in determining tuition increases, while keeping them accountable for maintaining the accessibility of higher education for lower-and-middle income students.

Outdoor Life Beat Reporter Allison Sylte can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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