Regents Approve 2024-25 Tuition, Fees, and Compensation

April 22, 2024

The University of Colorado Board of Regents met at CU Denver for its April meeting, where the regents approved aspects of the 2024-25 budget, engaged with a student panel, and held a deep-dive conversation on research. 

Tuition, fees, and compensation scenarios for 2024-25 

Increased state funding and spring enrollment that was stronger than expected in February framed CU Denver’s revised budget proposal for the upcoming academic year, which includes tuition increases lower than the rate of inflation and proposed compensation increases for faculty and staff.  

CU Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Chad Marturano said inflation was 5.2% in the Denver metro in 2023, higher than the 4.2% average inflation across all U.S. urban areas last year but lower than the 8% rate in Denver in 2022. 

The regents approved a 3% tuition increase for resident undergraduate students at CU Denver, a $330 increase for 30 credit hours up to $11,700 per year. CU Denver resident graduate tuition will increase 3.1%, while nonresident tuition will increase 4% for both undergraduate and graduate students. 

Mandatory student fees, which include the Auraria Campus and Wellness Center fees, will increase by 2.8% (around $28 per year for 30 credit hours), while housing and dining fees and college/school-specific fees will increase by various amounts. Marturano noted that some CU Denver student fees had not increased in seven to 10 years. 

Associate Vice Chancellor for Budget Jen St. Peter said that although our enrollment efforts are showing signs of promise—compared to the same point last year, fall applications are up 4%, admits are up 5%, and intents to enroll are up slightly, too—we must continue to budget conservatively with our enrollment projections to maintain a balanced budget. For context, while new enrollments are looking strong, we continue to see a lag from previous enrollment shortfalls. As a result, our Budget Office is projecting a 3.5% enrollment decline in fall 2024. Our budgeted targets are not our enrollment goals, however, and we aim to beat that budgeted enrollment projection this fall, St. Peter said.

State funding makes up less than one-fourth of CU Denver’s unrestricted fund budget, but the state allocation will likely increase by around $5 million once the state budget is finalized in the coming weeks. That increase will help cover mandatory cost increases associated with Denver’s minimum wage, compensation increases for classified staff, the Auraria Higher Education Center, and other operating and compensation increases. 

“I want to express my gratitude to the legislature and for the governor for supporting the legislature’s action,” said CU President Todd Saliman. “It will have a significant impact on our ability to keep tuition in check. There’s a direct connection between state funding and tuition increases for all institutions in Colorado, and we are no exception.” 

CU Denver is budgeting for a 2% merit pool for eligible faculty and university staff effective Jan. 1, 2025, dependent on hitting revenue targets based on fall enrollment. Revenue will be calculated in mid-September after the fall census, and the resulting compensation proposal will be shared with the Board of Regents in October. Should the campus fall short of its revenue target, the merit pool could be limited to 1% or 0%. If revenues exceed the target, there will be up to an additional 1% compensation pool to address compression, retention, and equity. 

First-Generation and Multicultural Business Program highlighted 

CU Denver’s host campus report featured a panel of students and recent alumni from the First-Generation and Multicultural (FaM) Business Program, which supports students through experiential learning, paid mentorships, academic support, and career readiness programming. The program, open to students in the Business School who are first-generation and/or students of color, had a 92% retention rate for the fall 2022 cohort and 93% persistence rate for the fall 2023 cohort. 

FaM student Elizabeth Vance waited seven years after high school to go to college because she didn’t feel ready or have the financial support. She will graduate in May and her internship site, international flour supplier Ardent Mills, is working to create a permanent role for her in product marketing. 

“I always felt different because my family didn’t have the money, and they didn’t go to college,” said Vance. “That’s why I took the time off. Coming to college, I thought I was going to be all on my own, but meeting Nimol [Hen] and getting introduced to this community has been absolutely life-changing.” 

Nimol Hen, the founding director of FaM Program, came to the U.S. as a refugee from Cambodia, earned two degrees from CU Denver, and is now working on her PhD here. “The reason why I’m so invested in the students and community here at CU Denver is because this is also where I found my inspiration, my early champions, and those who saw promise in me,” Hen said. “I would not have been able to finish the degree without the tuition scholarship that I received, the mentors that I met, and the incredible faculty here.”  

Program donors Dave Baker of FirstBank and MaryKate Johnson from the Denver Broncos also spoke to the regents about why they support FaM—and how hosting diverse students for site visits and internships helps them improve their workplaces.  

FaM also houses a closet of professional attire, which is open to all Business School students, and members of the campus community can donate gently used clothing and shoes in a drop-off box near the elevators on the first floor of the Business School.  

Leadership and other shared governance reports 

In her campus report, Chancellor Marks highlighted CU Denver’s Military-Friendly School designation and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture with Dr. Erik Lucero from earlier this month. In introducing the FaM student panel, she also noted that Gov. Jared Polis signed into law the First-Generation-Serving Higher Education Institutions bill on April 11, which will designate Colorado colleges and universities as first-generation-serving if they serve a higher percentage of first-gen students than the state average or participate in the national First Scholars Network, as CU Denver does. The Colorado Department of Higher Education will notify institutions that earn the designation annually starting in fall 2024. 

Ja’Net Hurt, chair of the University of Colorado Staff Council and executive assistant to the dean in the School of Education & Human Development at CU Denver, asked the regents and chancellors to encourage participation in staff councils throughout the system, especially among frontline staff who don’t always have the flexibility or time to attend council meetings and events. 

CU Faculty Council Chair Alastair Norcross praised the university for planned enhancements to both the employee tuition benefit and the Faculty Housing Assistance Program, but said there is still work to do because CU lags behind peers on tuition benefits while IRC faculty don’t have access to housing assistance. 

Nicholas Dawson, chair of the Intercampus Student Forum, noted that CU Denver’s Student Government Association collaborated with system leadership to advocate for House Bill 1340, which would provide tax incentives for certain transfer students or college graduates in fields identified by the state as “top jobs” from high-demand industries that pay a livable wage. 

Digging into research 

The regents continued their series of CU Strategic Plan deep dives with roundtable discussions on research across the system. CU Denver had a 10-year high of $28.4 million in research awards in 2022-23 and has already received $25.9 million in awards this year—on pace for a 30% increase in 2023-24. 

New programs, initiatives, and policies approved 

Two new academic degrees are coming to CU Denver after board approval: an MS degree in Financial Technology (FinTech) in the Business School and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Professional Studies (BAS-PS) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  

The FinTech master’s will consist of four stackable certificates: Foundations of FinTech, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies, Business Analytics in FinTech, and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in FinTech. 

The Professional Studies degree is geared toward students who have earned an Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) degree at any Colorado community college who want to stack credentials as they complete the BAS, university core, and CLAS graduation requirements. 

The regents signed off on CU Denver’s Engineering/Arts & Media Lab Renovations project, which is necessary due to the Community College of Denver’s renovations of the Boulder Creek Building. CU Denver spaces currently within Boulder Creek—including class and research labs for Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Visual Arts—will be permanently relocated to renovated spaces in North Classroom, the CU Denver Building, and the Fifth Street Hub. Design is already underway with construction scheduled to begin this summer and wrap up by late spring 2025.  

The board also unanimously approved a resolution confirming that the Board of Regents has the sole authority to articulate the university’s position on matters of social and political concern, except as delegated by the regents. The resolution supports academic freedom and free expression for individuals and shared governance bodies, but it clarifies that academic and organizational units lack the authority to adopt positions of social or political concern in the same manner. 

Learn More 

The CU Board of Regents will hold its next board meeting in Pueblo on June 20. Meeting agendas, videos, and minutes are available here