The higher education crisis

Colorado’s higher education is in crisis, and student governments from all around the state are working to fix it.

If trends continue, Colorado will be the first state in the union to run out of higher education funding by 2022. This has led to serious discussion about the future of CSU and other universities around the state.

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On Saturday, The Associated Students of Colorado State University (ASCSU) gathered representatives from seven other universities around the state to discuss the current issues in higher education.

CSU Chancellor Michael Martin, one of the guest speakers at the ASCSU event, summarized his concerns about higher education. Martin explained that more students are going out-of-state than staying in-state, and said that one can hypothesize that the students leaving Colorado are more qualified for college than those staying.

“We are losing the highest quality students to out of state schools,” Martin said.

Martin also explained his concerns over low retention rates as well as inflation within CSU.

According to Martin, low retention rates are a concern because it costs an estimated $15,000-20,000 to recruit a new student, and if the student fails to graduate, that costs the university substantially.

Martin explained that the inflation within CSU refers to rising costs in the system, specifically due to faculty, health care, and others. This also contributes to the rising costs of higher education.

It is due to these types of issues that ASCSU has brought together student representatives to discuss how to help students navigate the changing world of higher education.

“We need to band together and figure out what we can do to help the students collectively,” said Morgan Smith, ASCSU Director of Governmental Affairs.

Samantha Guinn, ASCSU Deputy Chief of Staff, felt that the event was a success but wished for more universities to attend.

“This was a good way to get the ball rolling, (but) I’m hoping next time there is more representation,” Guinn said.

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ASCSU’s next step is to draft a letter to Governor Hickenlooper and the Joint Budget Committee regarding the funds he has promised to set aside for higher education.

Hickenlooper has promised to give $100 million toward higher education around the state, and Colorado university student governments are focused on where these funds will actually go. ASCSU is writing a letter that explains why the funds should go toward lowering tuition rather than other university expenditures.

ASCSU president Nigel Daniels is hopeful that other student governments will provide their input and support for the letter.

“The letter will dictate student views across the entire state,” Daniels said. “We want to have a larger presence in state government.”

ASCSU’s goal for the letter and for events such as this one is to aid students all around Colorado in facing the higher education crisis.

“We have the ability to make something happen,” Guinn said. “We’re trying to empower students to be the change they want to see.”

Collegian Senior Reporter Caitlin Curley can be reached at news@collegian.com.