Adams State board approves budget, tuition

ALAMOSA — Adams State University’s budget for fiscal year 2018-19 was approved by its board of trustees at a special meeting on Monday. The budget reflects the $2.7 million in cuts while most of the tuition and rates stay the same. Factored into those cuts are a 2 percent cost of living adjustment for faculty and exempt staff, a state mandated increase of 3 percent for classified personnel, adjusting salaries to meet a 72.5 percent of peers' earnings benchmark, and a cushion for 5 percent expected enrollment reductions.

As discussed at a previous audit and finance committee meeting, the university will continue its guaranteed tuition program.

In-state undergraduate students who qualify for the College Opportunity Fund stipend will pay $239 per credit hour. For out-of-state undergraduate students, tuition will remain at $698 per credit hour and for Western Undergraduate Exchange students it stays at $471 per credit hour.

Online graduate programs’ costs will slowly increase to $435 per credit hour over a two-year period except for teacher education, which remains unchanged. Food costs will increase by 3 percent due to a contract with Sodexo food services but housing will stay flat. The mandatory on-campus capital fee will also be unchanged at $97.39 per credit hour.

This is the first year the capital fee didn't increase because it has reached its maximum rate.

Meanwhile, ASU's approved budget has total revenues decreasing from $64.7 million to $63.5 million. The total budgeted expenditures are also $63.5 million and there is roughly $1.3 million in reserves.

ASU Chief Financial Officer Heather Heersink adjusted her reporting methods, logically lumping items together instead of having them spread across departments and funds, so the amounts vary slightly from previous years. For instance the salary of the vice president of students services was moved from auxiliary services to the general fund.

"We also changed the way we were allocating computer services staff," Heersink said. "Some were allocated to the extended studies funds, some were allocated to housing...It really is more of an indirect cost than a direct cost so we moved those into the general fund."

In expenditures, academic support is decreasing from $2.8 to $2.4 million and students services went from $5.8 million to $5.6 million. Because of reporting changes, institutional support increased from $4 million to $4.8 million. Also included are state-funded capital expenditures, such as roof repair and a new boiler in Plachy Hall.

Not reflected in the budget is a one-time boost of $500,000 from Senate Bill 262, which was passed after the budget was compiled.

"We've at least put forward a budget that maintains a level of tuition to our constituents here that doesn't increase," ASU Board of Trustees Chair Cleave Simpson said. "There can't be many institutions in the state of Colorado that have gone through that same effort to make their institutions as affordable as possible."