At last weekend’s retreat, Metro State’s Board of Trustees reviewed and discussed the College’s five-year draft Financial Accountability Plan (FAP) submitted to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) on Oct. 1. Submission of a FAP is a requirement of the Tuition Flexibility Bill passed by the legislature last spring.
The FAP proposes a net academic year tuition and fee increase of $673.64, including the final increase in the bond fee, in fiscal year 2011-12 for resident students taking 12-18 hours. This is a 16.4% net increase in resident tuition.
The 16.4% figure is reached from a proposed 21% resident tuition increase, with an accompanying conversion to tuition of the mandatory information technology and registration fees and course-specific internet fees as well as the third-year increase of the bond fee for the Student Success Building and backfill project. The proposed tuition increase for non-resident students, currently 3.6% of the student body, is 9%.
Looking at overall tuition and fees for the 2011-12 academic year, this means that resident tuition for 12-18 credit hours would increase to $3,759.22 and fees for 12-18 hours would decrease to $1,006.88 for a total $4,766.16.
“When the legislature passed Senate Bill 3 last session, they made it clear that they would not be in a position to support our Colorado institutions with additional funding for the foreseeable future and that there was a high probability that there would be further reductions in support,” says President Stephen Jordan. “It gave me no great pleasure to be placed into a circumstance that requires me to make recommendations such as these to the trustees.”
Even with a net 16.4% tuition increase, Metro State would still be among the lowest tuition and fees charged, considering the increases proposed by other institutions in their FAP reports. For instance, as shown in the Denver Post, Mesa State would jump to $5,447; CSU to $6,306; and CU-Boulder to $9,177.
“Even with the proposed tuition increase, we will remain one of the most affordable institutions, not only in Colorado but, in the nation, with tuition rates in the bottom quartile of urban comprehensive colleges and universities,” says Jordan, adding that Metro State receives less than one-half the support per student that the next lowest funded four-year institution in the state receives.
As SB 3 also requires higher education institutions to ensure access for low- and middle-income students, Metro State would set aside $3.4 million out of the estimated $7.8 million in new tuition revenue from the proposal to be allocated to student aid, bringing the institutional scholarship budget to $6.9 million. “This would ensure that low and middle-income students who qualify for financial aid would not be negatively impacted,” Jordan says.
The five-year FAP proposes a 13% resident tuition increase in the 2012 academic year and 9% increases each subsequent academic year through 2015.
“The FAP proposal is not an absolute at this point,” says Natalie Lutes, vice president for administration, finance and facilities. “This is an ongoing process working with the CCHE on various funding models over the next several months.”
Watch @Metro for funding updates.
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