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Students at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and elsewhere in the CU-system will face a smaller hike in tuition and fees next academic year.

At a meeting Friday at UCCS, the CU Board of Regents set a tuition increase of 2.79 percent for UCCS undergraduate resident students for the 2018-2019 school year.

Students will pay $240 more for 30 credit hours, starting in the fall.

When combined, the cost of tuition and student fees at UCCS will increase from $10,201 this year to $10,463 in August.

"Thanks to the state of Colorado and the governor for investing in higher education again, which has allowed us to keep the tuition low for the coming year," UCCS Chancellor Venkat Reddy said after the meeting. "We work hard to ensure all students can afford to come here."

UCCS officials also are projecting that the record-setting enrollment growth of the past 11 years will slow down. Student count is expected to be 1.9 percent above this year's tally of 12,422 students.

Over the past decade, enrollment increased by more than 60 percent; in 2007, the school had 7,715 students.

Officials had anticipated enrollment to jump by 4.2 percent this school year, but have realized 3.5 percent.

Reasons include changing demographics, with not as many high school students as in the past, Reddy said.

"We're not growing as fast, but we're still growing," he said.

One focus will be to help all students succeed, stay in school and graduate, Reddy said. The school's retention rate is 65 percent to 68 percent. The national average is 61 percent, according to National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

"There's certainly a lot of room to increase," Reddy said.

Under the proposed state budget, CU's four campuses will receive $18.9 million above the current year's state funding - a 9.7 percent increase.

"The requirement is that the money be used to keep tuition down," said Todd Saliman, CU's chief financial officer.

Members of Colorado's House and Senate have approved the lengthy version of the state budget known as the Long Appropriation Bill. It's advancing to conference discussions.

Legislators also capped tuition increases for 2018-2019 to 3 percent at all state colleges and universities. Two campuses - Fort Lewis College in Durango and CU Boulder - received exceptions.

The Boulder campus was approved for a 4.7 percent increase in base tuition, but total tuition and fees will increase by 3.71 percent because of mandatory course fee reductions.

Under new policies, only CU Boulder freshmen are subject to the tuition hike, as returning undergraduates have rates that are locked under a tuition-guarantee program instituted in 2016.

Also, eliminating some of the student fees, which started this school year, is saving Boulder campus students about $10 million, according to system officials. The range of savings is from $1 to $1,200, with the average being $300 to $400, officials said.

The CU system also will have another $4.8 million in financial aid to disburse, and employees will be eligible for a 3 percent salary increase.

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