Colorado: University Leaders Say They Need $144 Million More to Support Students & Employees

United States North America Higher Education News by Erudera News Jan 18, 2023

Denver, Colorado, United States

15 college and university leaders in Colorado have written a joint letter to the state, saying the current state investment in the higher education sector is not enough for higher education institutions to meet the long-term objectives.

Presidents and chancellors said that Colorado continues to be nearly $900 million under the average funding of its peers across the nation despite a significant increase in budget the state made last year. The letter further notes that Colorado fell from the 45th to 49th spot in the country for spending per student, Erudera.com reports.

Leaders have asked for an increase of $144.7 million in state funding for higher education institutions and four percent in tuition authority in order for the schools to continue supporting their students and the state during the academic year 2023/24.

“Greater state investment in higher education has never been more important as we seek to meet critical state workforce shortages, while also keeping tuition in check and addressing inflationary pressures on our operations,” the letter to the state reads.

According to the 15 leaders, the state should boost funding for universities and colleges because higher education has vital importance for civil society and the economic growth and prosperity of people in Colorado, state funding allows all students, regardless of their background, access to affordable higher education as well as because employees deserve compensation to keep up with inflation.

“More students than ever are the first in their families to attend college, which is a fact to be celebrated but also creates new pressures for services that support their success. These students, along with low-income students, rural students, and students of color face greater barriers to accessing and completing education,” they said.

In their letter, among other things, leaders expressed gratitude to the state for increasing investments in the higher education sector over the past few years.

Discussing how an increase in tuition would affect universities and colleges, last week, Colorado Mesa University President John Marshall said when schools raise tuition fees, they also increase financial support for students in greatest need, according to local media reports.

It is the second time that university leaders in Colorado have come together to require more funding for education. Earlier this year, they called on the state to invest $179 million more in higher education this year, arguing that the amount that Governor of Colorado Jared Polis proposed for universities and colleges, which was a $52.5 million budget increase, wouldn’t help these institutions to cover even their minimum operating expenses.

image source: Colin Lloyd | Unsplash

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