Photos: CU-Boulder proposes 8.7 percent tuition hike after $170M sports-facilities-upgrade pitch

Categories: Education

coors events center upgrade cropped.jpg
Big photos below.
Talk about awkward timing. There's no direct connection, monetary or otherwise, between CU-Boulder's proposal for an 8.7 percent tuition hike next year and a plan for a $170 million upgrade to the university's sports facilities; see graphics and more below. But a CU spokesman concedes that the school is already battling perceptions about its priorities based on an assumed link between the two.

bronson hilliard.jpg
Bronson Hilliard.
"We've seen it on social media," says CU's Bronson Hilliard (disclosure: a longtime friend of yours truly), "and we've seen it on the alumni Facebook page. So we've been trying to explain to folks that their tuition is not going for athletic upgrades."

True enough. As reported by the Boulder Daily Camera, the tuition bump -- officially 3.4 percent, but an increase in the number of hours each student pays for brings it to an effective 8.7 percent -- is considerably more modest than the 15.7 percent boost officials suggested last year at this time. (After a public uproar about putting the cost of college out of reach for the average student during a time of economic upheaval, they wound up settling for 5 percent.) Moreover, the amount is in line with tuition increases for recent years, as seen in this Camera mini-chart:

2011-12: 9.3 percent

2010-11: 8.9 percent

2009-10: 8.8 percent

2008-09: 9.3 percent

As for the sports-facilities upgrade, CU-Boulder types stress that funding will not draw upon tuition dollars, student fees or state bucks. Indeed, construction won't start until donors pony up $50 million in seed money -- that's a mighty big seed -- with the remainder of the needed dough to come from private fundraising and assorted athletic department and media revenues. And besides, Hilliard says, the $170 million price tag is considerably less than what other Pac-12 schools are looking at spending to spiff up their athletic facilities.

"This is a pretty modest proposal when you look at what some of them are doing," he notes; chancellor Philip DiStefano maintains that figures of $200 to $300 million are in play elsewhere. Moreover, Hilliard continues, "we've erected more than $700 million in construction related to the academic and student life missions over the last decade. So the spending priorities have been overwhelmingly in favor of academics and student life," including the completion of a new community dining facility.

The largest athletic projects over the past quarter-century or so include a 1991 expansion of CU's Dal Ward Center and new suites at Folsom Field in 2001. A practice gym for basketball and volleyball was built a couple of years ago, but Hilliard says the money to erect it came entirely from "gifts."

Thanks to the proximity of the announcements pertaining to tuition and the athletic facilities, however, these distinctions aren't always getting through.

Continue for more about the CU-Boulder tuition-hike proposal and athletic-facilities plan, including graphics of the planned upgrades.

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We are talking about a sub .500 team since basically the early 90's . 

Yes it's cool C.U. now plays in the PAC 12 BUT, the division they left wasn't or is the WAC,  either .

I can think of a single aspect of Buffs football that ISN'T an embarrassment, INCLUDING DAVE LOGAN and KOA !!!


C.U. isn't going to be experiencing ANY enrollment issues w/ the passing of Amd 64 .

High school seniors across the nation are already salivating at the opportunity of moving Boulder .

Olivia Kahlo
Olivia Kahlo

And as Dan and Carla know, the increase doesn't go to the professors...not even the tenured ones are out racing their yachts...but certain regents may be getting some cushy bonuses...

Dan Brown
Dan Brown

Higher education is a mess right now, and it is hilarious and sad that CU has no idea how silly they sound raising prices right now.

Rob Salyers
Rob Salyers

I'm reminded of an article I read several years ago. I don't have exact numbers, but it pointed out that while most costs increase no more than about 2-3% per year, higher education increased on average something like 10-12% per year. Something doesn't add up.


> And the athletic upgrade will come from auxiliary funds, which are any self-earning entity at the university: parking, housing and dining fees, revenue athletics earns from gate receipts, merchandise sales, ticket sales, broadcasting contracts."

Hmm. Seems like some of these things should be paying for academics, not athletics. I'd also bet the athletics dept gets monetary contributions from alumni that the academic side doesn't get. 9% annual raise puts tuition on a schedule to double every 8 years or so, which seems excessive to me.


@rain Agree 100%. I am a CU alumni and would be happy to see the athletic program shut down in support of better funding and attention for the school's great academic program.

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