The Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees approved a 5 percent tuition increase for residents, nonresidents and graduate students at its meeting Friday.
Trustees also approved a $51.93 million final budget for 2018-19 that reflected $4.2 million in budget cuts that were finalized in April to deal with declining enrollment.
FLC was the only state college in Colorado allowed to increase tuition 5 percent, with a cap set at 3 percent for resident tuition increases at the other state public colleges.
An exception to the cap was allowed for FLC to adjust for its declining enrollment, which penalized it in the state’s funding formula for distributing higher education dollars.
“Our tuition tends to be among the lowest in the state, and even with the 5 percent increase, we are still among the lowest,” said Chance Salway, president of the Associated Students of Fort Lewis College.
The tuition increase will amount to $336 for residents and $840 for nonresidents for students taking between 12 to 18 credits. For graduate students, the per-credit-hour cost for resident and nonresident students will increase $17 to $354.
Despite the tuition increases, FLC’s tuition and fees are the second lowest in Colorado, behind Metro State University of Denver
No salary increases were offered to faculty and some staff members for the third consecutive year.
However, the college did increase its programs to recruit students and boost enrollment by $750,000.
The 2018-19 budget assumes a 9.6 percent decline in overall enrollment. Fall enrollment for 2017-18 was officially listed at 3,331 students, the lowest number since 2009, during the Great Recession.
“I don’t know what it would take to offer at least a 1 percent salary increase next year, but to go four years without a faculty salary increase would really hurt,” said Trustee Nora Jacquez.
Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Short noted some staff members who are not on the state classified salary system also have not seen a raise in three years, and they, too, deserve consideration.
“To have faculty receive an increase without a commensurate increase to staff would be detrimental to morale on campus,” he said.
Classified staff members, who are part of the state of Colorado employee system, will receive a 3 percent salary increase as part of the state’s budget approved by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper on April 30.
Other highlights of the budget include:
A 2 percent increase in the average room rate for dormitories.An increase in mandatory student fees to $66.70 from $62.95.An increase in total state funding of $1.27 million compared with 2017-18.Trustees also approved new programs offering degrees, certificates and licenses. These new programs include: borders and languages, computer information systems, criminology and justice studies, a certificate program in digital marketing and a special-education licensure program.