The University of Colorado's $1.29 billion campus budget set for approval Thursday takes into account an increase for scholarships to attract top in-state students and a contingency fund in case the school misses its enrollment target.
Budget officials also expect federal stimulus funding for research to run dry this year.
The regents will meet in Boulder on Thursday and Friday and are scheduled to vote on the CU system's $3.04 billion budget. The Boulder campus budget is proposed to increase by less than 1 percent. CU's 2013-14 fiscal year begins July 1.
State funding is projected to be about 4 percent of the campus budget, or $57.2 million.
Restricted funds -- which have direction on how they need to be spent -- are expected to decrease by $22 million, or 5.6 percent, to $367.6 million. CU officials say the impact of federal sequestration and the end of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will contribute to the decrease in research funding for the upcoming fiscal year.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has provided $112 million in research money to the Boulder campus since its enactment. About $5 million of that money is left to be spent in the upcoming fiscal year, according to CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard.
Campus leaders are looking for industry leaders to help buoy research funding in the future.
Last year, fewer students enrolled at CU than expected and the university saw an unprecedented number of out-of-state students gain residency so they could pay in-state rates. Those two factors led to an $11.5 million budget shortfall.
For the proposed budget, CU leaders have set up an "Esteemed Scholars" merit-aid program for high-achieving Colorado students. Depending on grade-point averages and test scores, incoming students could earn between $2,500 and $5,000 a year in scholarship money. CU leaders expect the scholarship offers have helped attract an extra 100 freshmen for this fall.
The campus plans to invest $2.5 million into the program, using state funding. But the future of the program's funding is still being worked out.
"Right now, we're looking at a whole series of approaches," Hilliard said. "We are seeking donations for it, and it's one of the chancellor's fundraising priorities. Donors are looming large in that strategy."
At this point, it's unclear whether the university will use tuition revenue to sustain the scholarship program.
CU is also planning an extra $2.1 million for need-based aid and an increase of $1.3 million for scholarships funded by donors.
The campus is also creating some padding for enrollment fluctuations with a $2.3 million contingency fund, which represents less than one-half of a percent of tuition revenue.
"What we want to do is use the contingency fund to hedge against future fluctuations in enrollment," Hilliard said.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or firstname.lastname@example.org.