CU Boulder says it plans to lower tuition by eliminating course fees starting next fall

Posted at 6:06 PM, Oct 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-17 20:37:40-04

BOULDER, Colo. -- The University of Colorado Boulder says it will eliminate course-related fees starting in the fall of 2018, saving students $8.4 million each year in tuition costs.

Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano made the announcement during his state of the campus address Tuesday.

“Today, I am announcing The Be Boulder Pact.  It is our commitment to our students and their families to further lower cost and increase accessibility to an education at CU Boulder. The three components are: eliminating all course and program fees; increasing scholarships and supporting our student government’s efforts to reduce textbooks costs,” DiStefano said.

There are more than 60 course and program fees the university plans to get rid of beginning in the fall of 2018.

CU Boulder said the course fees range from $1 per credit hour taken for German and Slavic languages, to $1,255 per semester for the graduate clinical Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences program.

"It's really hard to be a college student here," said CU Boulder Sophomore Katie Davis. "I'm constantly thinking about money and how I'm going to pay off my student loans."

Davis and other out-of-state CU Boulder students, who often pay much higher tuition rates, said they were glad to hear about the cost savings.

"There's fees everywhere. I have to pay $900 just for taking a class that's required in my dorm," explained Freshman Sophie Benecick. "Every dollar counts so it will help, but I don't think it will make significant enough of an impact, though, to really feel comfortable or make a difference."

Not including rent, food or sorority fees, Benecick said her out-of-state tuition costs about $51,000 a year for her major in journalism.

DiStefano said CU Boulder also plans to spend a million dollars to pilot a program on campus that will allow the university to offer students fully online textbooks at a discounted rate.

"Potential saving them hundreds if not thousands of dollars per semester," he said.

The Be Boulder Pact also makes the Impact Scholarship Program permanent. The university said the program looks beyond traditional measures of accomplishments and evaluates the academic success as well as the persistence of a student based on their social economic status.

During his address, DiStefano said 90 percent of the scholarships from the program this fall went to first generation students.

Last year, CU Boulder launched its "Tuition Guarantee" program that locks the tuition rate and mandatory fees for entering freshmen for four years. Through that program and increased scholarships, CU estimates it has helped lower the average student debt by nearby 15 percent.