Mesa State to raise tuition by 8.5%

Mesa State College is hoping a mixture of more students and an 8.5 percent hike in tuition will outweigh reductions in state funding for colleges and universities.

The tuition boost still leaves the campus in the middle among comparable institutions from New Jersey to New Mexico.

“We think we’re positioned to do fairly well” among students looking for lower-cost educations at smaller institutions, Mesa State President Tim Foster said.

He’s looking for a “slight increase in enrollment” when the 2009-10 year academic year begins, Foster said.

Last year, Mesa State raised tuition 7.5 percent.

With tuition and fees amounting to $4,739 for 30 credit hours, Mesa State ranks seventh among its peer institutions scattered across the country. In terms of the amount of state contribution toward tuition, Mesa State ranks last in the group, Foster said.

Among institutions within Colorado, Mesa State’s tuition and fees will exceed those of Metro State in Denver, $3,241 per 30 hours; Western State College in Gunnison, $3,778; Adams State College in Alamosa, $3,790; and the base level for Colorado State University-Pueblo, $4,667.

The rest of the state’s public institutions will have higher tuition and fees, however, topped by Colorado School of Mines in Golden, $11,239.

About half the students at Mesa State, with an enrollment of more than 6,000, receive Pell grants. Increases in that program exceed the tuition increase, meaning grant recipients will have more money for books, Foster said.

Like many other institutions, Mesa State is looking to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to support its general fund, softening the blow of reduced state revenue to Colorado’s institutions of higher education.

In all, Mesa State experienced a $4.1 million reduction in state funding as the Legislature grappled with reduced revenue.

Federal stabilization funding will be used to prop up the loss of state general-fund money, but the fix won’t last forever, Foster said.

“The stimulus money is temporary in our view,” and it leaves open the question of how the college will meet its base funding requirements once the federal dollars no longer are available, he said.


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