Regents Discuss Employee Compensation, Tuition Scenarios

February 15, 2021

The University of Colorado Board of Regents met on Feb. 11 to discuss a range of issues, including scenario planning for employee compensation and preliminary budget planning for tuition and fees. Read more of the meeting highlights below.

Compensation Merit Pool

Traditionally, pending budget availability, the Board of Regents has voted in the spring on a merit pool for faculty and staff effective July 1. Under this year’s scenario planning proposals, any merit pool increases would not take effect at the start of the fiscal year.

Rather, CU system officials have proposed a new timeline, waiting to assess revenue from fall enrollment before determining whether to offer a merit pool to enrollment-based campuses (CU Denver, CU Boulder and UCCS). As such, any pay increases would be effective Jan. 1, 2022. In April, the CU System will work with the campuses to review revenue targets needed for merit pool increases.

CU System CFO Todd Saliman told the board that a merit pool for faculty and university staff may be unlikely unless fall enrollment revenue goals exceed expectations. Compensation increases for classified staff are determined by the Colorado Legislature, which is currently considering a 2.5% compensation increase for Fiscal Year 2021-22. 

At this time, the CU Denver campus does not plan to reinstate furloughs in Fiscal Year 2021-22, but cannot guarantee this due to the uncertainty of enrollment levels and other pandemic-related budget issues, said Jennifer Sobanet, senior vice chancellor and CFO. CU Denver is prioritizing other budget-balancing actions and will make every effort to avoid using furloughs in Fiscal Year 2021-22. Previously announced furloughs for the 2020-21 fiscal year will be lifted on March 1.

Tuition and Fees

Following three years of keeping its tuition rates flat, CU Denver is considering a proposal for a 3 percent increase for the 2021-22 academic year. CU Boulder and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs are also proposing 3 percent increases. This plan aligns with the initial Fiscal Year 2021-22 proposed higher education tuition cap outlined in the most recent state budget proposal. The proposed increase would amount to an extra $300 per year for CU Denver undergraduate resident tuition. 

Proposed fee changes at CU Denver include mandatory student fees associated with the Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC) with a proposed 2.1% ($2.31 per term) increase to the Auraria Campus Fee. 

The Board of Regents will vote on tuition and fee increases by this summer.