The University of Colorado Board of Regents voted to approve tuition and compensation changes during an April 8 regular meeting.
The board approved a 3% tuition increase for all undergraduate, graduate, resident, and nonresident students for the 2021-22 academic year. However, campuses will use federal stimulus funds as a one-time buy down of these increases, effectively keeping the tuition rate the same for the fourth consecutive year. This was made possible through the federal government’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or (CARES Act) passed by Congress last year.
For fiscal year 2021-22, the board also approved a 3% salary increase for classified staff and a 2% one-time payment for faculty and university staff. The timing and details of the payment are still being determined.
The board approved several compensation changes that positively impact the CU Denver campus community.
- The regents voted 5-3 to approve a temporary non-base building payment for faculty and exempt staff. Regular faculty and university staff—including those in schools, colleges, academic and student affairs (ASA) staff, and CU Denver-specific administration—will receive a 2% temporary payment of their salary for the period of July 1 – Dec. 31, 2021, which is the equivalent of 1% of their annual salaries. The impact on consolidated administration employees working on the Denver and Anschutz campuses will be determined in the next few months.
- For ongoing merit compensation increases, all enrollment-based campuses in the CU System will move from a fiscal year (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022) cycle to a calendar year cycle (Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2022). This new timeline will give the CU Denver clarity on the fiscal impact of its fall enrollment before making decisions about compensation. For example, in October, the determination will be made if there will be a merit increase for calendar year 2022. This shift is being contemplated on a permanent basis but will take time and ongoing conversation to operationalize. Conversation will also be required about whether to shift the timing of evaluation processes to align with this new timeline.
- Compensation increases for classified staff are determined by the Colorado Legislature. Staff in this category will receive a 3% compensation increase, effective July 1, 2021.
The board voted 6-2 to approve tuition increases on CU campuses for the 2021-22 academic year. The regents approved a 3% tuition increase for all undergraduate, graduate, resident, and nonresident students. However, students will not be responsible for the additional tuition costs. Instead, CU will cover these costs using federal funds to provide a one-time institutional credit to all students in the amount of the tuition increase for academic year 2021-22. The details are still being worked out but students should expect to see the full tuition charge along with a credit in the amount of the increase.
CU Denver will continue to invest in student support, mental health resources, and career readiness initiatives that are in great demand by its students. The federal funds will help maintain CU Denver’s investment in institutional financial aid, which has grown by $5 million since fiscal year 2017-18, and enable the university to restore some operating cuts necessitated by the pandemic.
CU Denver will continue to offer our existing financial aid programs, which are designed to help make a CU education as affordable as possible.
Shift in Financing Strategy
The Regents approved the CU Denver Building Infrastructure Replacement and Renovation Program Plan. Based on recent news from the state about fiscal year (FY) 2022-23 capital budget planning that favors renovation projects over new construction, CU Denver will pursue a shift in funding strategy for FY 2022-23 that will lead with the CU Denver Building Infrastructure Renewal project, followed by the new College of Engineering, Design and Computing (CEDC) building.
This change in financing strategy is not a change in business strategy or priority for CU Denver but simply a shift in the way it seeks funding. Investing in both engineering, design, computing, and cross-disciplinary programs and in the CEDC’s state-of-the-art building are top priorities for CU Denver. Market demand for the CEDC programs continues to increase as the jobs of the future require innovation, technical acumen, and complex problem-solving skills—and CU Denver needs the facilities to train the future workforce.
CU Denver will continue to keep the new engineering building on the request list for state funding while it pursues other sources of funding, including public/private partnerships and renewed fundraising efforts.