CU chancellor: No competition with CMU

As of this fall, both schools will have university status. But that doesn’t mean the University of Colorado and Colorado Mesa University will be in direct competition, CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano said Wednesday in Grand Junction.

DiStefano, who was in town during an annual statewide tour to speak with alumni and media outlets, said price will determine which Colorado institution out-of-state students choose to attend.

“We go after very different students,” DiStefano said.

While a student who can afford to attend the University of California at Berkeley may also consider CU-Boulder, DiStefano said an applicant that would pay less to attend the University of California at Santa Cruz would be a more likely candidate for Colorado Mesa. DiStefano used California as an example because it’s the second most-likely state for CU students to come from after Colorado. It’s the third most-likely state for Mesa State students to be from, behind Colorado and Hawaii.

Asked by a reporter Wednesday if he agreed with DiStefano’s statement, Mesa State President Tim Foster said students are more likely to pick his school for the size of its classes than the size of its tuition bills.

“I don’t think it’s a price point. I think it’s a learning-style choice for students who value individualized attention,” Foster said. “We’re competing for the same students academically.”

DiStefano said more students who would qualify to attend CU are now choosing to stay in Grand Junction and attend Mesa State than in years past.

“I think that’s good. I don’t see it as a competition. I want to see students go to college,” he said.

Not all Mesa County residents are staying on the west side of the continental divide, though. This fall, 172 CU-Boulder students from Mesa County are slated to be joined by 34 first-year students from Mesa County.

CU is still well ahead of Mesa State in the quest for out-of-state students. DiStefano said his university generally maintains a ratio of 55 in-state students to every 45 out-of-state students. About one in 10 Mesa State College students hail from outside the state, although the school hopes to change that with its new name and better recognition as a Colorado school.

Out-of-state students are charged higher tuition than Colorado residents, which helps the Boulder institution overcome receiving less than 5 percent of its budget from the state.

The school also plans to get financial help this year with a 9 percent in-state-tuition increase and an ongoing $1.5 billion fundraising campaign for the CU system.


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