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CSU Tuition projected to increase 5 percent for undergrad residents, 4 percent for non-residents

As allocations and funding from the State of Colorado go down, tuition goes up. With a new school year comes a new budget, which for many students means higher tuition rates.

The current budget proposal, which was released April 14, projects a 5 percent tuition increase for undergraduate residents, and a 3 percent increase for nonresidents. The current proposal is in its sixth version and is expected to be approved at the Board of Governor’s meeting May 5.


“The entire budget for the university is pushing about $1 billion,” said Rick Miranda, CSU provost and executive vice president.

According to Miranda, the budget for the university involves four different categories: research contracts, auxiliary activities, miscellaneous expenditures and the education and general budget. Miranda said there is a large amount of the overall budget that is fixed that can be difficult for the administration to change, except for the education and general category.

“A whole third of the budget is really not subject to decision making by us,” Miranda said, referencing the third of the budget that dominates research contracts.

$130 million of the budget is generated by sources such as Housing and Dining Services, the Lory Student Center and parking through fees. 

“The money goes in, the money comes out, they’re not allowed to make any money of course,” Miranda said.

According to Miranda, that leaves about $100 million in miscellaneous expenditures, which includes bond debts, and about $400 million in the education and general budget which includes tuition and state appropriations, or the money CSU will receive from the State of Colorado.

“That’s the budget that we do have some discretion over,” Miranda said of the ‘education and general’ budget.

The ratio of tuition to state appropriations for that budget is about 3-to-1, according to Miranda. In previous years, the same ratio was about 2-to-1.

“It’s very recent,” Miranda said. “Twenty five years ago, we got two-thirds of the budget from state appropriation and one-third from tuition, so it’s completely flipped in a generation.”


Miranda said a decrease in state appropriations has caused tuition to go up to cover those costs. From about 2008 to around 2012 CSU saw the highest increases in in-state tuition in recent years, paralleling the recession during that time. For the 2007-08 school year, tuition rose 16.56 percent over that of the previous year, a $574.10 increase, according to the Institutional Research on Tuition and Student Fee Rates.

As a comparison, the increase over 2014-15 from 2015-16 was 5.5 percent, resulting in a $432.80 increase.

“It’s that flip that has been sensed by the population as a steep rise in tuition, and there has been a steep rise in tuition, but the actual cause of that rise in tuition is not a real rise in the cost of educating folks, it’s in the reduction in the state appropriation,” Miranda said.

The change for the education and budget for the coming year will be an estimated $25 million, Miranda said, with state appropriations remaining the same for the university as last year.

“In the recession years the state appropriations went from $130 million to $85 million over a relatively short period a third of the state money went away,” Miranda said.

Miranda said that the allocated rise in financial aid is dependent on the increase in tuition rates, and when the volume of students increases money gets put into the colleges to accommodate the student population increase in class sizes, which according to the CSU Effect has a 17-to-1 student to instructor ratio.

Other factors for the university budget include increases on compensation for faculty and staff, enhancements and new programs to the university, which are estimated to be around $3 million, and mandatory costs, like a rise in the utility bill.

Collegian Reporter Megan Fischer can be reached at or via Twitter @MegFischer04.



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