CMC increases tuition $5 per credit for Coloradans next school year; $30 for out-of-staters

Increase is part of five-year philosophy to ensure revenue keeps pace with inflation

Kathryn Redhorse serves as the keynote speaker at the CMC Steamboat Springs commencement ceremony on May 7, 2022 at the Steamboat Grand. CMC will increase its tuition again this year, bringing the cost per credit hour to $100 for in-district students, $200 for out-of-district students and $510 for out-of-state students.
Matt Lit/Colorado Mountain College

Colorado Mountain College will increase tuition by $5 for in-state students for next school year, bringing the cost per credit hour for students within the college’s district to $100.

Students living within Colorado, but not in the district, will see their tuition rise to $200 per credit hour after the $5 increase, the college’s Board of Trustee’s unanimously approved on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Mary Boyd, the college’s vice president of fiscal affairs, said the increase is part of a five-year philosophy for the board to raise tuition $5 each year to keep up with inflation. This year’s increase is the fourth year in that plan, and Boyd said it is fair to expect another $5 increase prior to the fall 2024 semester as well.

“They wanted to ensure that revenue sources are keeping pace with inflation,” Boyd said. “It’s a little bit of a tricky year because these increases are less than inflation. … We just decided to stick with the plan rather than raise it additional amounts for inflation.”

When looking at the overall cost of attendance, Boyd said the tuition increase when combined with other fees amounts to a 4.2% increase for commuting students and a 3.5% increase for students who live on campus. Boyd noted that CMC’s fees are low compared to other institutions in Colorado, as is the overall cost of attendance.

In the past, CMC has avoided yearly tuition increases, but that would lead to a larger single year increase, Boyd said. Raising it a steady amount each year provides more stability for students.

The board raised out of state tuition rates as well by $30, bringing the per credit hour cost for non-Coloradans to $510. Together, the increases are expected to generate the college roughly $680,000 in additional revenue in the 2023-24 school year, according to documents in the board’s meeting packet.

Steamboat Springs, where the college has one of its 11 campuses, is within the district, but other parts of Routt County like Oak Creek and Hayden are not.

In addition to the tuition increases, Boyd said the college is phasing out its in-service area tuition model due to changes at the state level. The college’s service area included parts of Jackson, Grand and Chaffee counties that do not pay property taxes to the system and these students paid about $10 less per credit hour than other Colorado residents that don’t live in the district. Those students will now pay the in-state rate.

Boyd pointed to the college’s Colorado Mountain Promise, which covers tuition costs for Colorado residents whose family makes $70,000 a year or less that are not covered by other forms of financial aid. The promise also applies to independent students who make $50,000 a year or less.

“We promise that if financial aid doesn’t cover the tuition, that CMC will,” Boyd said. “We really like to protect the lower income students from tuition being a burden, but we also want to balance our revenue streams. … We want to maintain that balance between our different (revenue) streams so we don’t have some structural catch up that we have to do in future years.”

CMC also receives funding from property taxes paid within the district and funding from the state. Boyd said those property taxes are what allow for capital upgrades like the under construction apartments at the Steamboat Campus, while tuition is generally used for operations.

The board approved a couple other changes this week as well, including an increase in food service rate in Steamboat and two other campuses by $200 a semester. This was spurred by increased food costs, according to a news release from the college.

The cost of a single-occupancy room is also increasing by $400, but the board didn’t increase the price of standard double room.  

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