University of Northern Colorado trustees discussed the initial 2014-15 budget, which is in development, during the board's regularly-scheduled meeting March 7.
An update was provided regarding state funding, pricing, compensation and capital projects. A recommended budget will be brought to the board at the trustees' next meeting June 13.
Pricing recommendations are based on multi-year planning that takes into consideration such factors as the cost of providing a quality education and keeping UNC a top value in higher education. UNC's tuition and fees remain lower than all state research universities and among the lowest of the state's four-year colleges and universities.
Approximately 25 percent of new revenue from undergraduate tuition and 30 percent from graduate tuition goes toward institutional financial aid in the form of merit-based scholarships, need-based aid, and other forms of institutional discounting.
Proposed pricing for 2014-15 includes:
- Average resident undergraduate tuition: $6,024 per year (a 4.8 percent, or $276, increase from 2013-14). A primary planning objective is to normalize tuition rates to provide students and their families predictability from year to year.
- Room and board: Room rates would remain flat ($5,000 for Tier 2 residence hall) and meal plan increases of less than 2 percent ($5,560 for a 19 meals-per-week for the academic year).
- Fees: The replacement value of UNC's facilities is estimated at $716 million. Industry standards recommend $10.5-$18 million in capital investments annually. With limited state funds for construction improvements and maintenance, a new capital fee of $200 is proposed in order to cover deferred maintenance of existing facilities and build necessary new capital projects to successfully serve students. A portion of the capital fee would be set aside for institutional aid. Other fee increases are proposed for library and a one-time student success fee.
- Compensation: A multi-year compensation identity plan developed in 2011-12 includes moving employee salaries to 90 percent of the average salaries of peers by 2017. The proposed compensation pool for next year is 3 percent of salaries.
The trustees also approved a Board Policy Manual amendment on Colorado Open Records requests to standardize the procedure, approved refunding of bonds and heard from Vicki Gorrell, vice president of alumni and development, who presented a summary of the strategic direction for alumni and fundraising.