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CU Students, Parents Brace For Large Tuition Hike

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University of Colorado (credit: CBS)

University of Colorado (credit: CBS)

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – University of Colorado students and paying parents — it’s time for the annual tuition rate increase discussion, and it could be the largest one in years.

Administrators at CU are recommending a nearly 16 percent increase for in-state students and the idea of another tuition increase doesn’t sit well with the people paying the bills.

Nathan Patrick has moved into the dorms, joining his brother, Nick, at CU, which means a proposed tuition increase will be a double punch for the family from Highlands Ranch.

“(It) means pull another year out of the old car. Think about the vacation next year instead of this year,” parent Tim Patrick said.

Some students say they know tuition increases come with the territory, but this sounds like a big one.

“It’s a pretty big deal to me. My dad pays for my college, but he has to pay for my little brother as well, and it’s quite a lot of money for both of us,” student Sonia Chacon said.

This year students are paying just under $7,700 a year. That would increase by $1,203, bringing in-state tuition to $8,875 for the next school year.

“It used to be the state paid 2/3 of the cost of education and the student paid 1/3. In recent decades that’s flipped entirely, so now the students are paying 2/3,” CU Vice President for Communication Ken McConnellogue said.

McConnellogue says CU is anticipating another $12 million in funding cuts this year as the regents start the process of figuring out next year’s inevitable increase.

“Tuition is a cost, certainly, and it’s a substantial cost. But it’s also an investment and one that pays substantial dividends over their lives and provides substantial value to their lives,” McConnellogue said.

For the Patricks, that future payoff takes away some of the sting of a tuition increase.

“We believe that Boulder’s business school, they’re both in the business school, has an excellent reputation, and we’re hoping it pays off then when they get employed and opportunities there, but it still hurts right now,” parent Therese Patrick said.

If approved it would be the third largest percentage increase in CU’s tuition. In 2007 it went up 19 percent. In 2005 tuition soared nearly 28 percent — the biggest jump since the 1970s.

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