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CU looking at hiking tuition by 9 percent

10:20 PM, Mar 10, 2010   |    comments
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That translates to $572 more for an in-state undergraduate and $1,300 more for an out-of-state student.

If approved, a resident undergraduate in the college of arts and sciences would pay $7,018 per year and a non-resident would pay $28,000.

The proposed non-resident increase is lower because out of state students already pay significantly more in tuition, university officials said.

The board met Wednesday, but did not make a decision, waiting to receive more public comment. It meets again March 29 when the vote is expected to take place.

CU's vice president of finance and chief financial officer, Kelly Fox, told 9NEWS the university has already made significant cuts in its budget to off set the drop of funding from the state.

"Certainly this is not our first choice to raise tuition and we find ourselves in a position where the state is needing to cut a large portion of our budget," Fox said. "So we're interested in balancing both cuts and using tuition."

Fox says for the 2009 fiscal year the school started out with $209 million in state funding. The funding has now dropped to $88 million. However, school is getting $121 million in one-time stimulus funds.

The proposed tuition hike would make the school $80 million, but that will not solve next year's problem when the stimulus money will no longer be available. That means the school could be facing an $89 million shortfall.

According to Fox, CU has been using a three-pronged approach to solve the budget crisis: budget cuts, revenue enhancements and looking at operating efficiencies.

In preparation for 2010 fiscal year, the school has cut $29 million from the budget and anticipates cutting $21 million more next month.

More than 200 jobs have been cut, many through layoffs.

But none of those measures are enough.

"The situation is dire and it's hard to imagine that our budget doesn't continue to get squeezed, so I expect that we will have hard times in the future," Fox said.

CU students 9NEWS spoke with say the proposed increase is a hardship and is putting the availability of higher education in jeopardy.

"A lot of students really scrape by paying for their apartments, textbooks, so any sort of even incremental increases like that really affect what you can do here at CU," junior Dana Anderson said.

She recently transferred to from an out-of-state school to get the benefits of in-state tuition.

Calvin Bruch is a senior. The proposed hike will not affect him, but he says he was concerned for the educational future of his younger sister and other younger members of his family.

"Going to college these days is very important," Bruch said. "If you want to get a good job you almost have to go to college and it's really difficult for people to find good colleges that aren't very expensive and to not come out of college with stacks and stacks of student loans."

To put the 9 percent hike in perspective, Georgia is looking at a 35 percent tuition hike, California a 32 percent increase and Arizona a 20 percent boost.

Just recently, USA Today and The Princeton Review ranked colleges nation-wide for best value. University of Colorado Boulder ranked number five.

Click here to see the full list.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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