The Privatization of Public Higher-Ed in Colorado

December 3 2010, 1:00 PM

"The current condition of higher education in Colorado is alarming and deteriorating," says the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, which yesterday gave the green light to a strategic plan meant to turn things around. Commissioners floated many ideas to lawmakers, who are contending with a $1.1 billion budget shortfall, as well as raising taxes, according to The Associated Press. State higher-education institutions are now allowed to raise tuition up to nine percent per year under a new law and can seek a higher percentage if they deem it necessary.

The University of Colorado expects to raise tuition for undergraduate resident students no more than nine percent if state funding is at least $158.8 million, reports The Denver Post. But any amount lower than that could lead CU to look for a 9.5 percent increase.

The University of Northern Colorado is pursuing 15 percent increases in average tuition for the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years, 12 percent in 2014, and nine percent in 2015 and 2016. "We are moving toward a business model that is more like private education," where students and families bear more of the cost, says UNC President Kay Norton.

Meanwhile, Ed News Colorado points to other hikes: The Community College System won’t seek more than nine percent unless state funding is below expected levels, but it could raise tuition as much as 15.7 percent if it receives less than what is forecast. At Adams State College, tuition is expected to rise by 11 percent, and prices at Western State College are anticipated to increase 11.6 percent a year for five years if state funding is stable, or 16 percent a year if state funding drops by 10 percent or more.