Governor proposes 8 percent increase in higher education funding
Governor Ritter proposed an eight percent increase in funding for Colorado universities like CU last week.
The eight percent boost would contribute an estimated $48.6 million to Colorado’s universities over the fiscal year 2008-2009, according to Ritter’s state budget request.
The budget for the coming year was submitted to the Joint Budget Committee of the state legislature for review on Nov. 1.
“I think it’s great,” said Ke’Ona Willis, a freshman psychology major. “It’s not enough, but it’s an improvement.”
Willis says she hopes student fees and tuition won’t be so high if the university receives an increase in state funding.
The boost would also include increased support of need-based financial aid by $7.3 million in addition to a proposed $1.7 million increase in work-study funding.
“Personally, as a student who needs need-based financial aid, it would help out a lot,” Willis said.
Ritter says that higher education is vital to the economic health of the state.
“By restoring funding levels to the work study program, increasing financial aid and providing additional funding for scholarships, we are creating opportunities and keeping college as affordable and accessible as possible to all Coloradans,” Ritter said in a press release statement.
Tuition stipends through the College Opportunity Fund will be one method the state will use to give money to the schools.
According to a national study, Colorado higher education would need an additional $832 million in order to reach the average level of funding for other public universities across the nation.
Ritter says that the 8 percent increase is one step to beginning to dig Colorado universities like CU out of the financial hole they fell into during the recession. Colorado is ranked nationally as one of the bottom ten schools for state funding.
Willis says that she thinks the eight percent increase should not be the final step in reforming higher education.
“They should see how it goes, and then decide how else to increase funding even more,” she said.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Katherine Spencer at Katherine.firstname.lastname@example.org.