Coloradans were shocked when they heard that the University of Colorado Regents’ vote to increase in-state tuition 8.7% to $8,760 per year for students of the College of Arts and Sciences.  The vote was 6-3, with CU Regents Jim Geddes (R-Sedalia), Sue Sharkey (R-Windsor), and Joe Neguse (D-Boulder) voting no.

About his no vote, Neguse told the Daily Camera that “when he was campaigning in 2008, the tuition for the College of Arts and Sciences was $5,922.”  If Neguse’s memory is correct (and there’s no reason to think otherwise), this tuition hike represents a 47.9% increase in just a few short years.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator estimates that the 2008 tuition, if adjusted for inflation, tuition should be just $6,385 in 2013.

Sadly, the spike in tuition also comes at a time when Colorado’s families already struggle to make ends meet.  In 2008, the median household income in Colorado was $59,534, according to the U.S. Census.  In 2011, the median household income had dropped to $55,387.

And, its the middle and upper middle class Coloradans that concern Geddes, as lower income students often receive financial aid.  By his calculations, tuition and fees between 2001 and 2014 have increased 136%.

CU Regent Michael Carrigan (D-Denver) attempted to pre-empt critics of the hike with his statement to theDaily Camera:

“We have cut the fat.  We are cutting muscle and we’re at real risk of losing talent and expertise that makes this university great.”

Nonetheless, it’s tough to justify such steep tuition hikes when Colorado’s families are still struggling under the crushing Obama economy.