Spring semester’s final town hall announces changes to budget and other campus updates

The administrative team wrapped up the academic year with a town hall meeting, noting tuition increases for students and budget cuts for the campus.

The April 25 town hall listed other changes to the budget and noted a need to rework UCCS’ strategic plan, a 10-year plan made to build growth and success on campus and provided updates on a concealed carry resolution that was presented to the Board of Regents.

Budget Changes

Kathy Kaoudis, vice chancellor of administration and finance, announced that the Colorado Joint Budget Committee approved an increase for state higher education funding that is almost three times what the governor proposed in November. This will increase state support for UCCS by 9% for the next fiscal year.

Kaoudis also announced that the Board of Regents approved a tuition increase of 3% for resident students and 4% for non-resident students.

“It’s wonderful for our budget. I always hurt a little bit for our students, but I will say this is less than the increase of inflation,” she said.

Kaoudis said student fees will also be increased for the fall semester to adjust for inflation. The Student Activity Fee increase was voted on by students in the SGA election in early March and will almost double to $30.40 a semester ($15.20 in the summer).

“Our students want that fee to increase support for our large number of clubs and to increase student activities on campus,” Kaoudis said.

Despite increases in state funding and tuition rates, Kaoudis said these increases would not cover the university’s mandatory cost increases, resulting in a projected budget shortfall of around $4 million.

With help from faculty input from every college, the chancellor, the provost and the vice chancellors identified budget cuts.

Kaoudis said the university does not plan for massive layoffs but will be reducing select positions.

“We will make every effort to minimize those reductions and to offer the affected individuals a preferred opportunity to interview for positions on our campus,” she said.

Individuals affected may also receive cross training, resume support and career counseling when possible.

A new compensation strategy was also announced at the town hall. This strategy prioritizes merit salary increases for faculty and staff making less than $85,000 per year. Merit increases for faculty and staff making more than $85,000 per year are tied to enrollment.

The compensation strategy for next year also includes a salary adjustment pool to address compression, market retention and equity issues. Tuition assistance benefits for employees have also been increased from nine credits to 12 credits.

Concealed Carry

In April, the Board of Regents voted to consider a resolution on concealed carry. Chancellor Jennifer Sobanet said the next step for the resolution is to go to the University Affairs Committee on June 4. The meeting will be open to the public both in person and virtually.

If the resolution makes it out of the University Affair Committee, it will be discussed at the June Board of Regents meeting.

Strategic Plan

Sobanet emphasized a need to rework the university’s strategic plan at the town hall. “Its goals are very broad, and we need to do the hard work of honing our campus priorities from within the strategic plan to focus our efforts,” she said.

In March, the university hosted a campus priorities conversation event, where leaders across campus were able to speak on what they feel the university should be focusing on. Following this event, the university hosted a campus priorities open house on March 22.

Sobanet said that they received feedback that this event did not produce “the generative creative ideas” that were desired. In response to this, the university is holding two campus priority events, one in person on April 29 and one virtually on May 3.

“These redesigned events, the purpose of them is to identify any ideas for which we need to spend the summer further synthesizing data so that we can discuss this further as a campus community in the fall,” she said.

Additional campus updates:

  • UCCS is in the process of hiring a digital accessibility specialist to support faculty in making sure courses are compliant with digital accessibility standards.
  • Henrietta Pichon, dean of the College of Education, will be leaving in early May. Joe Wehrman will be serving as interim dean of the college.
  • UCCS received one-time funding from the CU system to hire a faculty affairs director.
  • Summer enrollment is currently up 14.6% and student credit hours are up 11.33%
  • Fall enrollment is currently up 20.8% and student credit hours are up 12.58%
  • HR hired a vendor to conduct performance reviews called Coreflection, which will be implemented for the 2025-26 school year.
  • UCCS received $6 million from donors in scholarship money for the 2024 fiscal year.
  • DEI is working toward getting UCCS classified as a Hispanic-serving institution.

Photo via UCCS Photography Database.