The university’s regents are contemplating a four-year tuition guarantee for in-state students, which, if passed, would set up a system similar to that of the four-year tuition guarantee for out-of-state students.
While state support for higher education is on the decline, CU Associate Vice President Ken McConnellogue said an in-state tuition guarantee would be a way for students and their families to plan for college.
“The tuition guarantee may be a way to help students and their families plan for their investment in a degree by knowing exactly what the costs will be,” McConnellogue said. “Rather than to be at the mercy of state appropriation each year, which can fluctuate and cause tuition costs to fluctuate.”
However, not all students agree with the idea.
Matthew Townsend, an 18-year-old freshman open-option major and out- of-state student, said he doesn’t think in-state students should have a tuition guarantee because in-state students already receive state funding.
“In-state tuition has to do with in-state funding and it is much less already,” Townsend said.
The in-state tuition guarantee would work exactly the same as the program already established for out-of-state students, McConnellogue said.
An out-of-state student is guaranteed the same tuition for four years, meaning the price the student pays their first year of college will be the same for the student’s next three years. However, after four years, the guarantee will expire and the student will have to pay the current tuition rate at the time, should they need more time to complete their degree. The same principles will be applied to the potential in-state tuition guarantee.
McConnellogue said the program would affect all current and incoming in-state students, but a decision by the regents is unlikely to occur in the near future.
“I don’t expect a vote in the near future,” he said. “But it depends on how quickly a proposal is put forward and refined.”
However, the program, McConnellogue said, could begin as soon as next year if the Regents pass it quickly.
“The soonest would be fall of 2011,” he said. “But I suspect there are many details to be worked out that would make that timing difficult.”
Mitchell Whitus, an 18-year-old freshman history and political science double major and in-state student, said he thinks having an in-state tuition guarantee would be nice and could increase the number of people who apply to the school.
“I mean it would be nice if they could do it,” Whitus said. “But I understand why they don’t. It might increase the number of people who apply because overall it would be less expensive.”
McConnellogue said the idea for an in-state tuition guarantee did not come from the regents.
“The regents did not propose it,” he said. “The idea came from the leadership of the Boulder campus. The regents are intrigued by the idea and want to explore it further.”
In regards to the CU student who paid this semester’s tuition in only one-dollar bills, CU sophomore Nic Ramos, McConnellogue said while he agrees college is expensive it’s a worthwhile investment.
“He seemed to want to make the point that tuition is costly,” McConnellogue said. “I think we all agree on that. The reasons it is costly are complex and not easily explained by bringing in a duffel bag of dollar bills. Certainly as a non-resident student, he has options for decreasing his college costs (attending an in-state university, for example). The larger point is that a duffel bag could not show that an investment in education is just that: an investment.”
Whitus said that overall he does not think CU is too expensive for in-state students.
“I think it’s a fair price [and] not too expensive,” he said. “For an in-state school CU is fair; room and board is a different story.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Lindsay Wilcocks at Lindsay.firstname.lastname@example.org