Students and organizers to raise attention to increasing tuition
An initiative by UCSU is working to pressure Colorado’s state government into providing more funding for higher education.
Introduced last January, the “Show Me the Money” campaign will educate students and encourage them to protest ever-increasing tuition rates.
“We want to see the price of education drop,” said Daniel Omasta, UCSU representative-at-large and junior political science major. “There’s a growing sense of outrage, and we’re trying to be an avenue to fix things.”
Colorado is currently ranked 48th in the U.S. for state spending on higher education, according to a December 2007 study by the Colorado Department on Higher Education. As a result, Omasta said, the state “puts an excessively large burden on students’ backs.”
In the 1999-2000 academic year, tuition for resident and non-resident undergraduate students was $2,444 and $15,224 respectively. Current tuition for the 2008-2009 academic year costs resident students $5,922 and non-residents $25,400.
Alexa Sample, a senior anthropology major and member of UCSU’s Legislative Affairs Commission, said she believes securing state funding isn’t as overwhelming as it may seem. The problem, she said, is the minimal student involvement with their local government.
“Students don’t realize that they have the power to change these kinds of things,” Sample said, adding that “if students don’t say anything, there’s no reason… to make (funding) a priority.”
According to Sample, the idea behind the campaign is a two-pronged approach.
Those who have more experience in dealing with government officials will be in contact with the state, while a much larger group of volunteers will be involved directly with the students. UCSU is already using a large portion of its workers and volunteers in a non-partisan effort to register students for the upcoming election. After the Oct. 6 voter registration deadline, they will begin shifting their focus from registration to education.
Jesse Jensen, a senior political science major and UCSU’s director of Legislative Affairs, said he wants UCSU to be the catalyst of a large, student-backed grassroots movement.
“The effort can’t be confined by the campaign,” Jensen said.
The first priority for the campaign directors, however, is to bring representatives’ and legislators’ attention to campus and show them what the university has been able to accomplish with the resources they do have.
“A lot of legislators are waiting until after the election to get involved,” Jensen said. “But if you want something done, you have to put yourself out there and be prepared to invest a lot of time.”
The Legislative Affairs Commission meets every Thursday at 5 p.m. in UMC Room 129 and encourages student involvement.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Conor Doyle at email@example.com.