Colorado State University President Joyce McConnell described a focus on strategic investments to enhance student success while also building on CSU’s outstanding leadership in research, as CSU’s Board of Governors voted June 11 to approve a total budget of nearly $1.5 billion that restores funding to pre-pandemic levels for all campus within the CSU System.
The budget reflects a return to normal operations and includes a 3% tuition increase for both Colorado State University and CSU Pueblo, the first tuition increase since the Fall 2018 semester. At CSU in Fort Collins that increase amounts to $283 per year for a full-time resident undergraduate student, and $844 per year for a non-resident.
At CSU, and System-wide, the increase will assist in shoring up the budget, closing revenue gaps from the pandemic year, and contributing to faculty and staff salary increases averaging roughly 3%, which aligns with increases ratified for all State Classified employees in Colorado. CSU graduate student stipends will also increase by 3% as a step toward increasing benefits for graduate students. State Classified and graduate student increases will go into effect July 1, 2021, while raises for non-classified staff will take effect Jan. 1, 2022.
In addition to the FY22 budget, the Board of Governors approved funding for $13 million in one-time funding to help the Fort Collins campus address its revenue shortfalls for the FY22 fiscal year.
“This budget will help us build an even stronger CSU in the coming academic year, thanks to the support of the Governor, the state legislature, and our own Board of Governors,” said CSU President Joyce McConnell. “We always build our budget to support our core missions of access and student success. This year in particular, we have also focused on college affordability and on investing in our amazing faculty and staff.”
Chancellor: strong leadership on campuses
CSU System Chancellor Tony Frank applauded the leadership of the campus presidents – President McConnell at CSU, as well as Timothy Mottet of CSU Pueblo and Pamela Toney of CSU Global – throughout the past year The campuses made permanent budget cuts and implemented early retirements to bring their base expenses in line with revenues severely impacted by the pandemic. The new baseline for FY22 reflects those reductions on both the Fort Collins and Pueblo campuses that were needed to get through the last fiscal year.
“Their calm and steady leadership on our campuses is really what ensured we will be able to be fully open in the fall,” Frank said. “And they would agree that all of us owe our largest thanks to the faculty and staff who stayed focused on our students and their education even as their own lives were upended, and to our students who have persevered in the face of challenges unimagined by previous generations.”
The budget includes $17 million in new state funding to support the remodel of the Technology Building on the CSU Pueblo campus and $541,000 to support network infrastructure upgrades in Fort Collins.
“This is still a recovery year, and this budget allows us to make some progress toward keeping our academic salaries competitive, while also addressing mandatory costs, inflation, and some of the parts of our campuses hit hardest by the pandemic over the last year and a half,” Frank said. “The strategic leadership from our Board of Governors throughout the course of this crisis has helped us navigate through an unprecedented disaster and come out in solid shape on the other side.”
The budget announcement from the CSU System is available here.
Financial position gaining strength
As a result of measures taken during the last fiscal year the university will see long-term savings through CSU’s Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program (VRIP) implemented during the pandemic. In FY 21, the university reduced its budget by $17M and through the VRIP the university is realizing savings of $2 million in additional cost reductions anticipated for FY22. The VRIP savings represent the participation of more than 150 employees with approximately half of the positions being refilled. The cost savings from the VRIP will become permanent base savings in FY22.
In addition, enrollment in FY 2021 was 3% better than anticipated, resulting in an overall decline of 5% as compared to the 8% projected. Now, enrollment indicators looking toward the Fall 2021 semester suggest enrollment could be equal to or stronger than it was in the two years prior to the pandemic.
“Our budget is one of the ways we are really demonstrating our fortitude as a university,” McConnell said. “I’m so proud of the way our CSU community pulled together to persevere through the last year and maintain the foundation of our university which is our people – students, faculty and staff – to put ourselves in a position of great strength looking forward. We are very much looking forward to welcoming our campus community back soon and continuing to work closely with the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System to achieve the goals of our world-class university.”
(The CSU System External Relations office contributed to this story.)