The epic Cedars article I was working on before being laid off was a piece loosely centered around next year’s tuition hike. My task was to research CU’s finances to provide some context and do a comparative analysis with other similar schools. The project was about 85% completed when we got axed, so I’m going to use this blog as a platform to publish my research. This will likely be a multi-post series.
In this first part, I want to simply show the average cost — an estimate CU publishes that includes tuition/room/board — since the school’s inception (adjusted for inflation of course).
The spike around ’92-’93 is when CedarNet was introduced, and the latest spike is the ’09-’10 school year where total costs are going up 7.58%, while tuition is going up 6.25%. The mean increase is 2.59%, median is 3%, so this is significantly above average and, excluding the jump for CedarNet, is the largest increase in 24 years.
You could also look at this in terms of the jump from when a student enters as freshmen and graduates as a senior. Usually the total cost in those four years changes by 8-9%; for 2010 grads, it will have been a 12.47% jump. In tuition specifically, the usual four-year-increase is 12%, while for these graduates it will have been 15.74%.
This cost jump occurs, ironically, during a time when people have less money for college. Recession has certainly affected the school, notably in the freeze on salaries. But enrollment has been declining at CU for a while; after peaking in 2005, we’re down 3% to 2003 levels. Yet with less students and less tuition hrs sold (down 2.8% since 2005), tuition revenue has actually gone up by 10.2% — which may suggest that the tuition hikes are outpacing their need.