June 15, 2008

Bottom Line is Cost, Say Local High School Grads

By Chris Casey, Greeley Tribune, Colo.

Jun. 15--The University of Northern Colorado, which has a spotty record of attracting Greeley-area students, wants to be the first college choice of those high school graduates.

Out of last year's 2,250 freshmen, only 60 came from Greeley schools.

UNC leaders are ramping up outreach programs and marketing efforts, but what seems most on the mind of area students is cost.

Tuition and fees will total $4,680 per year for undergraduate residents at UNC this fall. Room-and-board will increase $422 to an average cost of $7,784, making the total one-year cost for a freshman $12,464.

And then there's the rising costs of books, points out Rachel Flint, a doctoral student in audiology.

"If I wasn't so close to finishing my degree, (the tuition costs) would make me question coming back," she said.

The University of Colorado and Colorado State University will charge more in tuition next year for resident undergraduates -- $5,922 at CU (for arts and sciences students; other programs are more expensive) and $4,424 at CSU; UNC's annual resident undergraduate tuition is $3,942 -- but that's little consolation to some Greeley high school graduates. Many are choosing community colleges instead of four-year institutions.

Kaila Wayne, a 2007 graduate of Greeley West High School, is leaning toward Aims Community College.

"I mainly just hear (from peers) that Aims would be the way to start out with general-ed and the basic stuff, because it's so much cheaper," Wayne said.

Part of a multi-pronged effort to revive lagging enrollment, UNC added $2.3 million to next year's scholarship pool and is reworking scholarships to target students of greatest need. The university last year invited hundreds of eighth-graders from Greeley-Evans School District 6 to spend a day on campus visiting with students and faculty. That program will continue next year.

Eighty-five percent of students at UNC are on some kind of financial aid, and one-third of the student body are first-generation college students.

Adrian Skipwith, a recent Greeley Central High School graduate, hasn't applied to any colleges yet. He's considering UNC, CSU and Aims. He's leaning toward Aims with an eye toward transferring to UNC.

"I wouldn't know" why enrollment is lagging at UNC, he said. "Maybe because the standards to get into the college are a little high for the area we live in."

Retention Rates

Retention rate is the cohort of freshmen from one year who are still enrolled the following years. It costs 60 percent less to retain a student than recruit one, according to UNC. Last year's rates at three Colorado universities:

--University of Northern Colorado -- 67 percent

--Colorado State University -- 83 percent

--University of Colorado-Boulder -- 83 percent

Yield Rates

Yield rates are the percentage of first-year students accepted by a university who end up enrolling at that school. Last year's yield rates at three Colorado universities:

--University of Northern Colorado -- 41 percent

--University of Colorado-Boulder -- 50 percent

--Colorado State University -- between 40 and 50 percent; specific percentage not available at press time.

Tuition Comparisons

Annual tuition rates for 2008-09 for resident undergraduates:

--University of Northern Colorado -- $3,942

--Colorado State University -- $4,424

--University of Colorado-Boulder -- $5,922 (for arts and sciences students; other programs are more expensive)

Application workshop at UNC

The University of Northern Colorado will have an application workshop for prospective students on June 26.

The workshop will take place from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Panorama Room of University Center, at the corner of 11th Avenue and 20th Street.

Prospective students will learn about housing, the process for applying and financial aid. If applying for housing, a $250 deposit is needed.

Call (970) 351-2097 or e-mail [email protected] two days in advance to RSVP for the event.


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