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College Opportunity Fund

In May 2004, an act of the Colorado state legislature established a new way for the State of Colorado to provide state tax-dollar support for higher education at the undergraduate level. The state is no longer appropriating monies to institutions for undergraduate education, but providing direct funding to undergraduate students through the College Opportunity Fund (COF).

This program, also known as “vouchers” or “stipends,” requires in-state undergraduate students to request that COF vouchers be applied to their university bills.

Details of the COF program are determined by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) and the College Assist Program. Updated details are available at www.cu.edu/ums/cof/faq.html and cof.college-assist.org. Students need to apply and authorize (two separate steps) the COF stipend in order to receive it. For instructions, see COF information at registrar.colorado.edu.

Confirmation Deposit

All new students (both in-state and out-of-state) must confirm their enrollment at the university by official notification and deposit of $200. The deposit is nontransferable and must be paid by all students, regardless of financial aid awards. Students who have paid the deposit and who decide not to attend CU-Boulder forfeit their deposit. Students who submit deposits after enrollment levels have been reached will not be accepted, and their deposits will be returned.

The confirmation deposit is not credited toward tuition and fees. It is refunded when a student graduates or officially withdraws from CU-Boulder within established dates and guidelines after paying any outstanding university obligations. Students should update their direct deposit bank account information before they graduate or withdraw to be sure they receive their refund.

Estimated Expenses

Expenses for students attending the University of Colorado Boulder vary, depending on housing (on or off campus), program of study, state residency (tuition classification), personal needs, and individual interests.

It is difficult, therefore, to provide exact statements of total expenses. The following estimated costs per academic year were calculated for the range of full-time undergraduate students living on the Boulder campus during the 2011–12 academic year.

Tuition and fees for 2012–13 were not set at the time of publication. Check the Bursar’s Office website for current tuition and fee rates: bursar.colorado.edu/tuition-fees/tuition-and-fees-rate-sheets

Costs for 2011–12 Year at CU-Boulder

The figures below are estimates based on a single undergraduate student enrolled full time for an academic year of two semesters.

Resident Expenses
Tuition and Fees: $9,152–$13,742
On-campus Room and Board (based on double occupancy): $11,278
Books and Supplies: $1,992
On-campus Estimated Total: $22,422–$27,012

Nonresident Expenses
Tuition and Fees: $30,330–$33,880
On-campus Room and Board (based on double occupancy): $11,278
Books and Supplies: $1,992
On-campus Estimated Total: $43,600–$47,150  

1. Residency classification is determined by Colorado state law. The resident tuition amount assumes eligibility for, and authorization for the use of, the College Opportunity Fund (COF) stipend, which was $62 per credit hour in 2011–12.
2. Special residential academic fees, program fees, course fees, and transportation, medical, and personal cost estimates are not included in the estimated total because costs can vary depending upon individual circumstances and spending habits.


Students planning to attend summer session should take into account estimated expenses indicated in the Summer Session Catalog, available online and from the Office of the Registrar in mid-February. 

In-state tuition is charged per credit hour. Out-of-state tuition is a flat rate, regardless of the number of credit hours. 

In-state undergraduate students must apply and authorize for the College Opportunity Fund tuition voucher program to help offset part of their tuition. See www.cu.edu/ums/cof/faq.html and cof.college-assist.org for additional information.

Out-of-state students are guaranteed the same tuition rate for four years. Students first registering summer 2012 through spring 2013 are guaranteed the same tuition rate through summer 2016. See www.colorado.edu/pba/budget/tuitionfees/guarantee.html for more information.

Zero or fractional credit is treated as one hour in assessing tuition and fees. Tuition for no-credit (NC) courses is the same as for courses taken for credit.

Students simultaneously enrolled in programs leading to two different degrees will be assessed tuition for the college or school with the higher tuition rate.

Housing Security Deposit

All students who live in the residence halls are required to pay a one-time security deposit of $300 (deposit is subject to change). This security deposit is held by Housing & Dining Services and is released to the tuition and fee account within 60 days after the expiration of the housing contract.

The security deposit required for housing is in addition to  the confirmation deposit required for admission to the university.


New Student Fee

The new student fee is a one-time nonrefundable fee assessed at the time of initial registration for students entering a degree program. Nondegree students who are admitted to degree status are charged the new student fee at the time they first register. It covers expenses for registration and transcripts, undergraduate orientation, Buff OneCard, immunization management, Forever Buffs alumni membership, and orientation for international students. The fee varies depending upon degree and international status.  

  • Undergraduate students: $182
  • Graduate students: $62
  • International undergraduate students: $225
  • International graduate students: $105

Program and Course Fees

Instructional fees are charged on an individual basis to help offset the higher costs of specialized supplies and equipment unique to these programs and courses. Program and course fees for 2011–12 ranged from $1–$90 per credit hour, $5–$225 per course, and $297–$375 per semester. Visit bursar.colorado.edu for a list of specific program and course fees. Lab courses not linked to a lecture course may also require payment of a course fee. In addition, certain colleges charge a fee for enrollment in that college, even if the student is not currently taking courses that apply to their major.

Late Registration Fee 

A late registration fee may be charged to students who are authorized to register for a fall or spring semester (but who are not registered in any classes by the third Friday of the semester). The late registration fee is $100. This fee should not be confused with late and finance charges assessed for late payments.

Student Health Insurance Plans

CU-Boulder has a policy requiring all CU students taking six or more credit hours to have health insurance coverage. To help students comply with this policy, all students are automatically enrolled in the university-sponsored Student Gold Health Insurance Plan. 

Enrollment is not automatic for spouses/domestic partners and dependents; or for students in continuing education, study abroad programs including Semester at Sea, and the evening MBA program.

Students enrolled in a health insurance plan other than the university’s (i.e., from their employer, through an individual insurance plan, or their parent’s insurance) must waive the university health insurance coverage by the semester deadline. The deadline to waive insurance is September 5, 2012, for fall 2012 and January 23, 2013, for spring 2013. The student health plan selection automatically extends through the spring/summer 2013 unless another plan is selected. Students enrolled in a university health plan will be billed each semester.

The university is not responsible for a student’s health care costs. If a student participates in one of the university health plans, Wardenburg Health Center will provide covered services as set forth in the plan selected.

For more information about CU health insurance visit  healthcenter.colorado.edu/insurance, call 303-492-5107, or stop by the Student Insurance Office located in Wardenburg Health Center.

2011–12 Mandatory Fees per Semester

Activity Fee (assessed by CUSG)1

Undergraduate Students2
One class of 5 or fewer credit hours: $62.11
One class of more than 5 credit hours: $340.22
More than one class (any amount of credit hours): $340.22

Graduate Students2
Master's, beginning doctoral, doctoral thesis only, and law (status A, B, C, E): $340.22
Doctoral candidate (status D): $125.75 with health plan, $62.11 without health plan

Arts and Cultural Enrichment Fee
All students: $10.00

Athletic Fee3
Credit hours of 3 or fewer: $0.00
Credit hours of 4 or more: $28.50

Capital Construction Fee
Credit hours of 6 or fewer: $100.00
Credit hours of 7 or more: $200.00

Career Services Fee
All students except law and doctoral candidates: $9.00

Computing Fee
Credit hours of 6 or fewer: $33.62
Credit hours of 7 or more: $67.24

Health Insurance
Student Gold health plan is mandatory (but may be waived if proof of other insurance is shown). Plans are Student Gold ($1,215) or Wardenburg Campus Care ($165, supplemental to other insurance).

International Student Processing Fee (CU SEVIS Compliance Fee)
International students only: $22

Student Bus and Bike Programs Fee4
All students: $78.00

Student Information System Fee
Mandatory for all students: $7.00

1 Undergraduate students: Payment of full CUSG student fees in the amount of $340.22 is mandatory for undergraduate students unless enrolled in only one class of five or fewer credit hours in which case base fees in the amount of $62.11 are charged. 
2 Graduate status is determined by the Graduate School. Additional Graduate Student Fees: Law Students are assessed two additional fees: Graduation Fee ($30) and Law Student Services Fee ($150). The UGGS Graduate Fee is $4.50.
3 Not assessed to doctoral candidate or doctoral thesis.
4 The student bus and bike program fee entitles students to unlimited free rides on local, regional, and express bus routes.


For detailed student fee information, visit bursar.colorado.edu.

Tuition and Fee Regulations

Drop/Add Tuition Adjustment

Adjustment of tuition and fees is made on drop/add changes as published at registrar.colorado.edu.

Tuition Classification

Students are classified as residents or nonresidents for tuition purposes on the basis of answers provided on their application for admission and other relevant information. For more information, go to the tuition classification link at registrar.colorado.edu/students/tuition_classification.html.

Students Registered on More than One Campus

Students registering for courses on more than one campus of the university during a single term pay tuition and fees to each campus at the rate appropriate to the number of credits for which they are registered on that campus. Students may be eligible to use the concurrent registration option, in which case they pay the tuition rate of their home campus rates for the total hours enrolled at all campuses.

Nondegree Students

Nondegree students enrolled in undergraduate courses are assessed tuition at the undergraduate student rate. Nondegree students enrolled in graduate courses are assessed tuition at the graduate student rate. Nondegree students enrolled in both graduate and undergraduate courses are assessed tuition at the undergraduate student rate.

University Employees

Full-time permanent employees may enroll in up to 9 credit hours per year tuition-free (certain mandatory fees still apply). Part-time permanent employees are eligible for a decreased tuition benefit based on their percentage of appointment. Enrollment is on a space available basis and must be done no sooner than the first date of open enrollment for the semester, which is typically the day before classes begin for fall and spring and the first day of classes for summer. Courses must be offered through main campus; Continuing Education courses do not qualify for the benefit. Courses must be job- or career-enhancing and the employee must get their supervisor's permission to utilize this benefit. There is an application process and deadlines that must be met in order to receive the benefit. Time taken to attend classes during normal working hours shall be made up and may be limited to one course during any term. Persons appointed for less than full time are not eligible for release time during assigned hours. For details, visit the tuition benefit link under "Resources" at bursar.colorado.edu.

Concurrent Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Programs

The Graduate School, in cooperation with the other colleges and schools, has instituted a concurrent bachelor’s/master’s degree option. 

Students need to talk with specific departments regarding programs offered and verification of the following statements:

  1. Students who complete the requirements for the concurrent bachelor’s/master’s degree receive both degrees simultaneously.
  2. Students admitted to concurrent programs may register for graduate courses before they receive a bachelor’s degree.
  3. Students admitted to bachelor’s/master’s programs will pay tuition according to their graduate/undergraduate status throughout the five to six years required to complete the concurrent bachelor’s/master’s degrees.
  4. Students admitted to concurrent degree programs will be regarded as undergraduate students for the purposes of receiving financial aid throughout the five years of their program, unless they are advanced to graduate status. Students may advance to graduate status upon the recommendation of their department, only after the completion of all their undergraduate requirements.

Approved Doctoral Candidates

A student who has passed the comprehensive exam and is admitted as an approved doctoral candidate is registered for five dissertation hours. Students not making use of campus facilities may choose to register for three dissertation hours and will be considered part-time students. Continuous registration for appropriate dissertation hours during fall and spring semesters is required until completion of the dissertation defense. During the semester of the dissertation defense, a student must be a full-time student, registered for five dissertation hours. A DMA student who has passed the comprehensive exam must maintain continuous registration by registering for DMA dissertation credits (courses 8200–8399) or TMUS 8029 through the semester in which the final dissertation exam or final exam is completed. 

Payment of Tuition and Fees

University Bills

Any student who completes registration agrees to pay CU-Boulder according to the payment terms documented at bursar.colorado.edu under "Payments." The bill includes tuition, fees, university residence hall charges (room and board), financial aid awards, student loan proceeds, research and teaching assistant tuition waivers, and other credits to tuition and fees. Bills are only online. An e-mail notification is sent to the student’s CU-Boulder e-mail address when the bill is available online. A student may also authorize parents and others (up to five people) to view and pay the bill online at CUBill&Pay.

Payment methods include:

  • Online payment from checking or savings account: see MyCUInfo.colorado.edu or bursar.colorado.edu.
  • Cash
  • Check (personal, certified, cashier’s, traveler’s, convenience checks, or money orders). Include student’s identification number on the check.

Credit and debit cards are not accepted, due to the high cost of merchant fees.

Payment can be delivered via the Internet, wire, overnight express, standard U.S. Postal Service, or dropped in one of two payment drop boxes located outside the north and south entrances of Regent Administrative Center. (See detailed information for all payment options at bursar.colorado.edu.)

Failure to receive the official e-mail notification of the bill does not relieve any student of responsibility for payment by the published deadline. To avoid assessment of finance charges (1 percent per month on the unpaid balance), a late fee (up to $50 per semester), and possible loss of future semester classes, tuition and fees must be paid by the deadline published at bursar.colorado.edu. Subsequent bills will reflect adjustments and additional charges made throughout the semester. Tuition and fee billing information is available at  bursar.colorado.edu.

Two-Payment Plan

Students may select a two-payment plan online by the first tuition payment deadline each semester. For more information about the two-payment plan, visit bursar.colorado.edu.

Failure to Make Payment

Failure to make the required payment by the stated deadline will result in any or all of the following actions:

  • Registration for future terms will not be allowed. If the student is already registered for courses for a future term, those courses may be dropped.
  • No transcripts, diplomas, or certification materials are issued for the student until the bill is paid in full.
  • The student will still be responsible for full tuition and fees, as well as a finance charge (1 percent per month on the unpaid balance) and a late charge per semester according to the following schedule:

Balance Due and Late Charge

$1.00–99.99: $ 5.00

$100.00–299.99: $10.00

$300.00–499.99: $20.00

$500.00–699.99: $30.00

$700.00–899.99: $40.00

$900.00 and over: $50.00

  • All past due accounts are referred to the university’s Student Debt Management department for collection, where collection costs may be assessed.
  • If an account is referred to a private collection agency, the delinquency may be reported to national credit bureaus and the student must pay collection costs, charges, and reasonable attorneys' fees allowed by the Uniform Consumer Credit Code. For more information, see bursar.colorado.edu.

Returned Payment Policy

A $20 fee is assessed for all payments returned (regardless of the amount). Late and finance charges may be assessed and certified funds may be required when payment is made. A financial hold will be placed on the student’s record and students may also be liable for the collection costs, reasonable attorneys' fees, and prosecution under the Colorado Criminal Statutes. Specific inquiries regarding returned payments should be directed to the Student Debt Management department in the Bursar’s Office.

Dispute Rights

To dispute tuition and mandatory fee charges, you must make a formal appeal to the Tuition Dispute Committee by the end of the semester (last day of finals). Disputes will only be considered under extenuating circumstances, such as university error, recent medical condition, immediate family emergency, recent unanticipated financial problems, and verified non-attendence. Official documentation must be provided to substantiate the circumstances. You may obtain a dispute form at bursar.colorado.edu/billing/tuition-dispute/ or by contacting the Bursar’s Office Student Billing Department, Regent Administrative Center, 43 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0043, 303-492-5381, or bursar@colorado.edu. If you disagree with the charges and fail to avail yourself of the dispute process by the end of the semester, you will have been deemed to have waived your right to dispute the charges. For additional information on the dispute process, visit bursar.colorado.edu.

Withdrawal Policy Regarding Tuition and Fees

Students who pay the $200 confirmation deposit and register for classes for any given semester are obligated to pay full tuition and fees for that semester, unless they officially withdraw from the university.

Tuition and fee obligations for withdrawing students are as follows (for fall and spring semesters):

  • Continuing students: If withdrawal is by the “deadline to withdraw and not be assessed a financial penalty,” continuing students and students returning from the Time Off Program receive a refund of the confirmation deposit less any outstanding charges.

New and readmitted students: New, readmitted, and transfer students are not eligible for a refund of the confirmation deposit. 

Deadlines to withdraw with no financial penalty vary by semester but occur some time before the first day of instruction. Visit registrar.colorado.edu/students/withdraw.html for the refund and assessment schedule.

If students withdraw after the “deadline to withdraw and not be assessed a financial penalty” but before 11:59 p.m. on the third Wednesday of instruction, they are assessed a $200 withdrawal processing fee. (The confirmation deposit is applied to this charge.)

  • No refunds will be made for students who withdraw after the third Wednesday of instruction. However, students who feel they have circumstances that may warrant a tuition adjustment and who withdraw after the third Wednesday of instruction through the fifth Wednesday of instruction, may petition the Registrar’s office to be assessed 40 percent of total tuition (not including the portion of tuition paid by COF for in-state undergraduate students) and mandatory fees (CUSG student fees, athletic fee, and capital construction fee). Students who withdraw after the fifth Wednesday of instruction through the seventh Wednesday of instruction may petition to be assessed 60 percent of total tuition (not including the portion of tuition paid by COF for in-state undergraduate students) and mandatory fees (CUSG student fees, athletic fee, and capital construction fee). After the seventh Wednesday of instruction students may not petition the Office of the Registrar for any tuition adjustment. If there are extenuating circumstances (university error, recent medical condition, immediate family emergency, recent unanticipated financial problems, verification of non-attendance), students may dispute tuition and mandatory fee charges through the Bursar’s office. College Opportunity Fund hours are expended and not refunded with withdrawals after the published deadline.

To comply with federal financial aid regulations, financial aid recipients’ loan and scholarship awards may be adjusted.

Students should visit registrar.colorado.edu for any changes, as the Board of Regents reserves the right to revise this schedule at any time. Refer to the Summer Session Catalog for information on the withdrawal policy and refund schedule for summer terms.

It is the responsibility of students to have all special services fees removed at the time of withdrawal. Otherwise, these fees become a financial obligation.

Students who do not pay the full amount due the university at the time of withdrawal must make arrangements for payment with the Student Debt Management department in the Bursar’s Office. All withdrawals are handled through the Office of the Registrar, Regent Administrative Center 105.


Individuals who wish to attend regularly scheduled classes for fall or spring terms may do so by obtaining auditor’s status.  

To qualify for auditor’s status, the individual must be at least 18 years of age. Registered enrolled students and suspended students are not permitted to audit courses. If a registered student is interested in participating in a class without receiving credit, then the student must enroll in the course for no credit. Note: courses taken for no credit are assessed the same tuition rate as courses taken for credit.  

Before purchasing the audit card, the auditor must first receive permission from the instructor to audit the class. Audit cards can be purchased at the Bursar’s Office located in the Regent Administrative Center one week prior to and including the first day of class. The cost of an audit card is set to the rate for three credit hours at the in-state undergraduate tuition rate for the College of Arts and Sciences. The cost is a flat rate regardless of how many classes are audited and regardless of the auditor’s residency status. Auditors will receive class instruction and library privileges only. Auditors must present their audit card to the instructor on the first day of class.

Audit cards are not refundable and expire at the end of the respective term.  With instructor permission, auditors may audit as many classes as desired. Spanish and Portuguese language classes and classes with a lab component or equipment use are not eligible for audits. Auditors should note that the Office of the Registrar does not record audited courses, therefore credit of these courses cannot be established.

Those 55 years and older qualify for the Senior Auditor Program's reduced audit rates. Those interested should contact the CU Alumni Association at 303-492-8484, or visit www.cualum.org/services/senior-auditors.

University Employees

Full-time permanent employees may enroll in up to 9 credit hours per year tuition-free (certain mandatory fees still apply). Faculty and staff can share their 9 credit hours with a dependent. Enrollment is on a space available basis and must be done no sooner than the first day of classes for fall and spring semesters and the first day of each session for summer. Courses must be offered through main campus; Continuing Education courses do not qualify for the benefit. Dependents can only use the benefit for undergraduate course work on the campus where the employee works. There is an application process and deadlines that must be met in order to receive the benefit. For details, visit the tuition benefit link under Resources at bursar.colorado.edu and the Payroll and Benefits website at https://www.cu.edu/pbs/tuition-benefit.