This week, President Barack Obama talked to CU-Boulder students about college affordability. But how affordable is CU?
According to a list of four-year public colleges compiled by the U.S. Department of Education, the university costs more than 79 percent of the institutions on the roster.
The list compares the average in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduate students during the 2010-11 academic year. At a tuition cost of $8,511, CU ranked number 142 out of 663 schools.
The Oregon Health and Science University tops the chart at $16,395, while four U.S. military academies with free tuition are at the bottom.
CU's data doesn't reflect the 5 percent tuition increase for the 2012-2013 academic year recently passed by the CU Board of Regents. The Denver Post reports that this boost was the "lowest since a 2.4 percent bump in 2006-07." According to the Post, CU students have seen a 9 percent tuition increase each year, on average.
But is CU doing everything it can to keep college affordable?
During his Tuesday address, Obama insisted that he's keeping colleges accountable. "So what I said to colleges and universities is, you guys have to do your parts to keep costs down," he said. "And I've told Congress, steer federal aid to those schools that keep tuition affordable and provide good value and serve their students well. We've put colleges on notice: If you can't show us that you're making every effort to keep tuition from going up, then funding from taxpayers will go down. You've got to make an effort. We've got to hold colleges accountable if they don't."
Of course, for a public institution like CU, tuition costs also depend on funding from the state. According to CU Vice President for Communication Ken McConnellogue, the amount Colorado contributes to colleges has"declined steadily and will again next year." (See correction below.)
CU-Boulder isn't the most expensive public college in Colorado. It's the second-most expensive, as you can see by where other state institutions placed on the list:
• Colorado School of Mines: 9th at $13,425 • University of Colorado-Denver: 221st at $7,214 • Colorado State University: 246th at $6,985 • University of Colorado at Colorado Springs: 363rd at $6,029 • University of Northern Colorado: 367th at $5,997 • Mesa State College: 380th at $5,831 • Colorado State University-Pueblo: 401st at $5,615 • Adams State College: 483rd at $4,971 • Fort Lewis College: 493rd at $4,924 • Western State College: 523rd at $4,775 • Metropolitan State College of Denver: 586th at $4,093
Obama concluded his address by announcing the new Twitter hashtag #DontDoubleMyRate, which he hopes will help push Congress to continue backing lower student loan rates. Without the support, Obama points out that interest rates on student loans will double after July 1.
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"We've got, actually, a hashtag that I want everybody to use -- #dontdoublemyrate. It's pretty -- everybody, I want you to repeat that," Obama said Tuesday.
"Don't double my rate," the CU audience replied.
Correction: The original version of this post inaccurately stated that the amount Colorado contributes to colleges has increased slightly in recent years. The reference has been corrected above. We regret the error.
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