DENVER — As the number of Colorado high school graduates going straight to college drops, with low-income students disproportionately impacted, one Denver university is starting a program to make it more affordable to earn a degree.
Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU) announced Tuesday that it will lock in tuition rates for new and current undergraduate students, which means their tuition rate won't increase for up to four years.
“Our students are facing tremendous financial challenges right now,” said MSU Denver President Janine Davidson in a news release. “Many are working multiple jobs just to keep up with rising costs for rent, groceries, gas and other necessities, while also persevering to earn their college degrees. We want them to know that their tuition is one cost that won’t be rising.”
Being a college student requires a lot of multi-tasking and it's not uncommon to hear they have multiple jobs on top of studying.
"Oh, I would love to work just one job," said Jess Figueroa, junior at MSU. "Right now I have two jobs. I'm looking for another one."
She works a 9 to 5 job Monday through Friday doing exploratory student advising and she's got an all day weekend gig taking care of a disabled child.
"It's a challenge for sure. You basically want your independence but it's hard to afford your independence," she said. "Gas prices are outrageous. Cost of food is outrageous. Rent alone is outrageous, utilities, everything just adds up."
MSU President Janine Davidson said they had to do something.
"This is really, really important time to roll out this tuition lock because of inflation," she said. "80-85% of our students are working 30-40 hours a week."
She said that's why they're locking-in tuition for students.
"They're facing so much anxiety over all their things that are happening in their lives and the economy is one of them," said Davidson. “If you’re thinking about going to college and you just weren’t sure if you could afford it, we just want to let people know this is the right time to do it.”
Since she's a junior, Jess said the locked-in tuition rates won't impact her too much. But, it'll be a nice break to save a bit of money and maybe get some extra breathing room.
"I am a first gen student, so out of my family, I'm the only one who's been to college," she said. "I look in the mirror and I tell myself, if I get knocked down this amount of times I've got to push harder."
Under MSU's tuition-lock program:
- For new freshmen, tuition will remain the same for four years.
- For current undergraduates, tuition won't change for three years.
- For new students who transfer to MSU from other institutions, tuition won't change for two years.
In-state tuition at MSU costs $3,378 per semester for in-state undergraduates taking 12 credit hours. For out-of-state students, it's $10,510 per semester.
The tuition lock applies to both in-state and out-of-state students. The program doesn't apply to fees.
The program is an effort to make college more accessible while also giving students an incentive to complete their degree in four years, MSU said in a release.
“The more quickly our students graduate and enter the workforce, the more quickly they’re earning good salaries, shoring up their own financial security and strengthening Colorado’s economy,” Davidson said.
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