Focusing in on FY 2011-12

Mar 092011
Authors: Erin Udell

Some CSU undergraduates may be surprised to see their bill exponentially higher this fall semester, as tuition hikes loom on the horizon.

After months of planning, CSU’s projected budget for fiscal year 2011-12 is nearly complete, and, in the final open planning and budget hearing, Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda addressed budget changes that are likely to occur — including increases in tuition.

The projected tuition base rate for Colorado resident undergraduates in fiscal year 2012 is $6,307 per semester, an almost 20 percent increase from 2011’s rate — roughly the same percent increase in differential tuition base rates.

About 90 members of the CSU and Fort Collins communities gathered in the North Ballroom of the Lory Student Center Wednesday morning to hear Miranda speak and answer questions about the changes in tuition and future of the university’s budget.

CSU President Tony Frank and Associate Vice President for Finance Lynn Johnson were also present at the meeting.

Throughout the year, CSU officials were planning on a 5 to 10 percent budget cut across the board, making up for shortcomings in state funding.

With this year being the last for receiving federal stimulus money, the university will no longer have the $16.6 million it did in past years to put toward expenses.

Another cut in funds comes in the form of the possible $36 million cut to higher education proposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat. Of this potential cut, $6 million would come from state support for CSU.

In an effort to offset those losses in state funding, changes to tuition in fiscal year 2012 are expected to create more than $33 million of new revenue.

Officials have proposed a three-year plan to phase in differential tuition to all juniors and seniors, which would generate $5.85 million in revenue.

Another change in tuition may also include a close in the credit-hour gap –– eliminating discounts for students taking more than 10 credits.

According to CSU President Tony Frank’s budget planning update in December 2010, officials intended to reduce university expenses, institute a salary freeze and only hire people who are “absolutely critical” to the university.

Through cutbacks, the university was able to make up more than $11 million in unit expense reductions. At an almost 5 percent reduction to the budget, these cutbacks are on the lesser scale of what was originally expected.

“Cutting is not fun but, if we have a choice between cutting five (percent) and cutting 10 (percent), I would much rather be cutting five (percent),” Miranda said.

But while the proposed budget saw fewer cuts than planned, it is not the final financial plan for fiscal year 2012.

“We still have a ways to go with possible changes with the legislature and Governor and by our board,” Miranda said in an e-mail to the Collegian. “But given what we know today, we are pleased that we will be able to present a balanced budget to the board that still keeps the institution moving forward in many critical dimensions.”

If CSU System Board of Governors formally approve the tuition hikes in the planned June meeting, the increases will take effect for the fall semester of 2011.

“We are not pleased that we must forego needed salary increases for our faculty and staff, that we must continue to reduce our expenditures and even contract our staff and that our tuition increases are relatively large,” Miranda said.

“We do hope to emerge from this in a stronger place fiscally and ready to make progress in the next years on a number of fronts,” he added.

Senior Reporter Erin Udell can be reached at

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