CU's rising tuition

In-state tuition increases at CU-Boulder since 2008:

2013-14: 8.7 percent (proposed)

2012-13: 5 percent

2011-12: 9.3 percent

2010-11: 8.9 percent

2009-10: 8.8 percent

2008-09: 9.3 percent

COLORADO SPRINGS -- Budget officials at the University of Colorado proposed a tuition plan Thursday that would amount to an 8.7 percent increase next year for most in-state students on the Boulder campus, bringing annual rates to $8,760.

CU finance chief Todd Saliman unveiled an early tuition plan at the regents' meeting in Colorado Springs, though the board won't vote until later this spring -- likely in April.

Last year, CU approved a 5 percent tuition increase for in-state students -- much lower than the 15.7 percent rate originally proposed by university officials. That reduction followed controversy over news that money from the previous year's 9.3 percent tuition increase funded raises for top administrators, including $49,000 for Chancellor Phil DiStefano.

Colorado State University earlier this week proposed a 9 percent increase for its in-state students.

On the Boulder campus Thursday, students expressed displeasure at news of the planned tuition increase.

"I think it's already a shame for students that have to take out loans and are going to have to come out with so much debt after graduation," said Jhenya Nahreini, a senior who lives in Broomfield and plans to graduate in December.

Christian Diaz, a junior from Texas who pays in-state tuition because her mother lives in Longmont, echoed those feelings.

"I have to take out loans, so it's just more debt for me," she said.

'Linearity' model

CU's new tuition plan for full-time, in-state undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences, which enrolls the most students on the Boulder campus, would amount to a $704 annual increase.

The university is looking to change the way it charges tuition, proposing a new "linearity" model.

Currently, full-time students pay for 11.25 credit hours a semester at $358 a piece -- yet they can take up to 18 credits, or sometimes even more with campus approval. In the tuition proposal brought forward by university officials, full-time students would be charged for 12 credit hours and the cost of the credit hour would increase to $365.

"We can't afford to give credits away for free anymore," Saliman said.

CU Regent Glen Gallegos, R-Grand Junction, questioned whether the linearity model should even be considered a tuition increase.

"What it really means is you're actually paying for the hours you're taking," he said.

CU Regent Joe Neguse, D-Boulder, said that while he was a student at CU he routinely took 18 credit hours per semester. He asked if the move to linearity would lessen incentives to graduate within four years.

But Pam Shockley, the chancellor of the Colorado Springs campus, said her campus has moved to linearity and the graduation rate has increased by 6 percent.

The proposal includes a 1.9 percent increase for first-year, non-resident undergraduates, raising the incoming rate to $30,528. CU offers its non-resident students a four-year locked rate.

Raising $20 million

CU is proposing that tuition for in-state graduate students increase by 2 percent to $9,936. Non-resident graduate rates are proposed to increase by 2 percent to $26,712.

The administrators' proposal would generate an extra $20 million in revenue for the Boulder campus, according to Kelly Fox, chief financial officer at CU-Boulder. That revenue would pay for mandatory increases -- such as pay increases for state employees and utilities -- as well as modest investments in financial aid, maintenance projects, the library and a scholarship for high-achieving in-state students.

The state's Joint Budget Committee is proposing a 3.6 percent pay increase for classified staff members, who make up about one-third of CU's work force and fill jobs in offices, facilities management and other places on campus. That mandatory increase would cost CU about $2.9 million.

Additionally, CU is proposing a $6.7 million compensation pool to be awarded based on merit for faculty and administrators.

CU officials say that since fiscal year 2008-09, the faculty salary gap between CU-Boulder professors and those at comparable universities has grown each year and now exceeds $7,000.

CU officials also are proposing that $2.2 million generated from the tuition increase go into financial aid.

Based on the governor's request for higher education funding, CU's Boulder campus is expecting an increase in state funding of $3.8 million this year. If that money comes through, the university is planning to spend it on scholarships, its maintenance backlog and to renovate spaces that will be free once computers move to a centralized campus data center.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or anasb@dailycamera.com.