Colorado’s public colleges should not be increasing tuition and giving professors raises

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The cost of a four-year degree at a Colorado state school is now astronomical.

Both the University of Colorado and Colorado State University estimate the cost of tuition, student fees, housing and books is about $30,000 for the academic year. A Colorado student who gets out with a degree in four years will have spent a staggering $120,000.

Tuition should have been increasing on par with inflation. However, The Denver Post’s Elizabeth Hernandez reported that between 2011 and 2021, tuition at four-year colleges in Colorado has climbed 36% adjusted for inflation.

Hernandez also reported last week that student loans are so crushing, students are now turning to an algorithm to figure out how much they should pay before reverting to minimum payment plans based on income. A physical therapist with a doctorate from CU Anschutz Medical Campus told Hernandez she owes more than $100,000, pays $500 a month based on her income, and isn’t making a dent in the growing debt.

Colorado can do better, and stop the out-of-control tuition growth. Nationwide, in recent years, the trend has been for both private and public colleges to decrease their tuition, with some institutions offering discounts when their schools went to an online-only format during the pandemic. Going forward, we believe a paradigm shift is needed with higher education that focuses on economy, value and efficiency.

The boards that run both CU and CSU should have rejected tuition increases for the 2022-2023 school years when they voted this spring and demanded that the expected shortfall be filled via budget cuts, foregone raises, and non-essential positions going unfilled. Two out of six regents opposed the tuition increases for CU.

If tuition is going up at the University of Colorado by 3% then faculty should not be getting a 3% raise, morale be damned.

Times are tight in higher education, and the harsh reality is that folks don’t get raises. Hernandez reported last week that the Board of Regents…