Dear Colleagues and Students,

Ah, spring. One walks across campus seeing TAs with stacks of exams to grade and students trying to convince themselves they didn’t need more than an hour of sleep last evening. Cub fans scan the standings to see how many teams have a worse winning percentage and begin to feel comfortable making fall travel plans. Faculty members wrap up the semester’s teaching and begin to transition into their summer scholarship.

Boards of Governors accepts budget

And the spring cycle continues in the Admin Building as well. We’re wrapping up the FY13 budget. The Board accepted our budget at its meeting last week (very similar to the draft budget we first highlighted to campus last August but with lower state cuts and lower cuts to our campus units), and the final version is online. Our overall state funding will be down by about $2.25 million—still a hit, but a much softer one than we began planning for when we started this process last summer and a vast improvement over the $39 million in total cuts we’ve taken over the last four years.

Pay increase to faculty and staff

Perhaps the best piece of news out of this budget is that we’ll be providing a pay increase to faculty and staff for the first time in four years. This average 3% increase equates to about $7 million of our discretionary budget — a fairly significant portion of the funds we have available. We’ve worked hard to protect this increase, even in light of other funding pressures and priorities, because both Provost Miranda and I were committed to an increase for all our people this year, after four years of salary freeze.

For faculty and administrative professionals, the increase will be pretty straight-forward. On the other hand, the State of Colorado wasn’t able to increase salaries for state classified staff this year, but they were able to make some investments in the state classified benefits package. We have budgeted a one-time, non-base increment for our state classified staff that is equivalent to an average 3% of annual salary to be distributed (as will be the faculty/AP raise) based on performance.

Tuition increases

Our tuition increases will be just what I described in my last budget message: 9% ($568 per year) for resident undergraduates; 3% ($660 per year) for non-resident undergraduates; 5% ($400 for residents and $980 for non-residents) for graduate students. Fees will be up about $39 for the year. We’re also increasing university-funded financial aid by more than $3 million to help assure access to CSU. Our financial aid programs from recent years have been successful at maintaining retention rates of lower income students, but we all, I think, recognize the need for some systemic reform as increased tuition replacing decreased public funding — driving an ever increasing need for financial aid — is not a sustainable, long-term strategy. I think we all worry about the national policy implications of this 4-decade trend for American public higher education.

Four-year hiring freeze lifted

At about $2.8 million, the unit expense reductions we’ll take are considerably lower than we had been anticipating throughout the entire planning cycle. We’ll also be making some modest — and overdue — investments in faculty hiring, and we’ve recently formally lifted the hiring freeze that’s been in place since 2009.

As I said back in March, I have mixed emotions about this budget — it’s great to be able to keep tuition increases to the single digits and to finally get some increases to faculty and staff. But the cuts of the last few years have taken their toll, and this budget still reflects the effects of the recession — it’s a reminder that we have some considerable lost ground to make up as our funding picture improves. Still, I remain incredibly proud of how well we weathered the difficulties of this economic downturn, and I’m sincerely looking forward to a few years of greater stability and progress.

Thanks for involvement in budget process

A BIG thanks to ASCSU, the AP and Classified Personnel councils, and the Faculty Council for all of their work and involvement throughout the budget process. You can take a little breather between now and July 2, when we’ll start our planning for FY14.

To my faculty colleagues — have a great and productive summer. Each fall brings news of amazing work you’ve all done, and I’m sure this coming fall will be no different.

To the staff — thanks as always for all of your hard work. Before we know it, Ram Welcome & Convocation will be gearing up and another fall class will be moving into CSU ready to begin their journey as CSU Rams.

To our graduating seniors, you may be leaving our campus but Colorado State is more than this place — it lives in everyone who cares about this university, so you’re taking CSU with you wherever you go.

Our best wishes to graduates

Our best wishes go with you; live a life that makes a difference. And to our returning students — finish strong on your finals, then rest up this summer, recharge your batteries, reconnect with your families, and come back ready for another great year. Be safe this summer. Use good judgment and take care of each other. Our world needs what you have to offer. Oh — and do your parents a favor before you head home. Clean out your car and pay your parking tickets …

Have a great summer everyone.


Dr. Tony Frank