MSU Denver’s Board of Trustees approved three adjustments to tuition and student fees at the May 10 Board meeting: a 3% tuition increase, the closing of the tuition window by 50% and a 5% increase in mandatory student fees for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The increased tuition and fee revenue will fund high-impact student services and help the University avoid cutting essential services. Despite an increase in state funding for next year and the approved tuition increase, the University is still facing a $1.5 million deficit and cannot cover mandatory costs that support students and the faculty and staff who serve them, said George Middlemist, associate vice president of Administration/COO and leader of the Budget Task Force.
“I want people to know how much time and angst we have spent on this issue,” said Board Chair Jack Pogge. “Raising tuition is never something we want to do, but in this case, it is absolutely necessary for the survival of the school.”
President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., said that these changes are needed because Colorado is near the bottom in the country in funding higher education, and MSU Denver receives less funding than any other public institution in the state.
Students contributed to these decisions through focus groups, an email survey, participation in Budget Task Force meetings and administrator visits to the Student Government Assembly. Outgoing SGA senator Joe Brant said an increase is necessary for MSU Denver to keep pace with other higher education institutions in Colorado.
“When students pay, it’s going back to them for support. It’s going to improve things on campus, such as technology in the classrooms or hiring new and better-trained advisors. Stuff like that takes money,” he said.
Under the new tuition rates, resident undergraduate students on the main campus and online will pay $268 per credit hour (up from $260.20) up to 12 credit hours, then $134 for each credit hour between 13-18, plus student fees. Previously the tuition window allowed students to take 13-18 credit hours for the price of 12. The Bursar’s Office will publish complete tuition and fee tables based on number of credit hours, residency status and campus in June.
The majority of students weren’t utilizing the window, and while the program was designed to make tuition more affordable for low-income students, those who took advantage of it tended to have more support from their families and work fewer hours per week than their peers.
The projected $4.25 million in funds generated by closing the window at 50% will be used to support the areas that students identified as their top priorities: student services, scholarships and additional full-time faculty members.
Despite these changes, MSU Denver will remain among the leaders in affordable tuition and fees in Colorado. Total tuition and fees would be close to $2,000 less than the statewide average for four-year schools.
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