May 6, 2022

Dear Colorado State University community,

As we wrap up our spring 2022 semester, I offer my sincere appreciation and gratitude to everyone in our Colorado State University community for coming together and helping advance our institution during a challenging year. Through unprecedented times Colorado State continued to exemplify excellence across all of our mission areas, something of which we can all be proud.

On Tuesday of this week, the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System gave its endorsement of our Courageous Strategic Transformation plan, and we are moving forward with their strong support. In alignment with the goals of CST, we also presented to the Board our current draft budget for fiscal year 2023. Importantly, we can share our plans regarding graduate teaching and research stipends and salary compensation for the coming year.

While we continue to overcome significant Covid-related budget deficits and balance competing priorities, Colorado State has rallied to propose a budget that is forward-looking and prioritizes support for our people. It includes the following for FY23:

  • A 3 percent pay increase for graduate teaching and research assistant stipends.
  • A faculty and administrative professional salary merit pool increase of 3 percent.
  • A 3 percent pay increase for state classified staff planned and ratified by the Colorado legislature earlier this spring.

Since our earliest stages of FY23 budget planning, the funds for the graduate student stipends have been included; the faculty and administrative professional pay increase was added immediately after in subsequent budget drafts. In total, these pay and stipend increases represent an additional $908,000 in graduate teaching and research assistant stipends; $1.9 million in state classified personnel compensation; and an $11.9 million dollar investment in our faculty and administrative professional employee compensation.

These plans recognize the talent, dedication, and hard work of our world-class employees and represent an important step to align Colorado State with our institutional peers. This budget continues a years-long investment in our institution’s most valuable asset: its people. Colorado State has increased the base salary for contract faculty every year for the past three fiscal years and dedicated funds for a promotion ladder for contract faculty ($324,000 in FY21, $404,000 in FY22, and $350,000 in FY23). Market-driven compensation continues to be a top priority as we navigate the ever-evolving financial landscape we face in higher education.

We also continue to prioritize keeping tuition as affordable as possible in recognition of our mission to provide access to higher education for Coloradans. The FY23 budget will include a 2 percent increase for resident undergraduate ($97.10 per semester) and a 3 percent increase for non-resident undergraduate students ($434.85 per semester). We fully recognize that tuition increases will have a financial impact on our students, however we believe this modest increase is imperative for Colorado State to continue to deliver on its mission of education, research, and service to the people of Colorado. We made a conscious decision to keep graduate tuition flat to help amplify the impacts of the increased stipends.

More broadly, Colorado State, through our Courageous Strategic Transformation, has prioritized budget remodeling to ensure long-term fiscal excellence. We are committed to this work and the people that make Colorado State great, and developing a budget process that aligns with those commitments will be an important consideration as we collectively create our future budget. We are aware of the growing cost of living in the northern Colorado region. We have gathered comparative salary data from institutions like ours on faculty salaries and are we currently gathering the same data on administrative professional salaries.  This data will be used to inform our budget building as we address the fiscal health of the institution and the compensation of everyone who works here.

Our Colorado State community has deftly navigated numerous obstacles throughout the past 24 months, and we rose together to overcome the greatest challenge our university has faced in generations. While we will continue to feel the impacts of the pandemic for several years to come, I am confident we will collectively work through those impacts, continue to provide the world-class educational experience Colorado State is known for, and make great strides in simultaneously reducing our budget shortfall and increasing our employee compensation. I recognize that some in our community would like Colorado State to move more swiftly on compensation; please know that we will not turn away from this issue. It is and will remain a priority for Colorado State and in our budget decision making.

In closing, I share my appreciation and thanks to everyone who comprise our Colorado State University community for all you have done to deliver on our mission of teaching, research, and service, and for elevating Colorado State as a world-class institution. These are headwinds that colleges and universities across the nation are facing, but we are Colorado State University, and our institution will continue to improve itself for all who learn and work here – and for that I am so very grateful for you all.

With appreciation,

Joyce McConnell