Even after record fundraising, Colorado State’s still too expensive

More than 32,000 private donors gave to CSU during the 2011-2012 fiscal year, generating  $111.6 million in revenue and making it the most successful year for fundraising in CSU’s history.

But how much do those funds help the CSU students facing an annually-increasing tuition bill?

CSU recently completed its seven-year fundraising effort titled the Campaign for Colorado State, during which $537.3 million was raised. Of that, $63 million went toward 15,783 scholarships.

It’s an impressive figure that makes it easy to forget that tuition (for Colorado residents) increased by 49 percent since the Campaign for Colorado State began in 2005.

But what’s unsettling is that — during the course of a seven-year, $537.3 million fundraising campaign — only $63 million in scholarship funding was raised for an institution with a yearly budget of more than $850 million.

What’s more, the 15,783 scholarships were awarded, in many cases, to either low-income or high-performing students, meaning that a large section of the student body never saw — or will ever see — any of that money.

Fundraising is a necessary revenue stream for higher education in the current landscape as state funding continues to shrink due to Colorado’s limping economy.

Indeed, for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, private donations outpaced state funding by $18.6 million; a trend that CSU’s Vice President for University Advancement, Brett Anderson, told the Collegian in July he believes will continue into the future.

CSU’s fundraising efforts throughout the Campaign for Colorado State are commendable, but when compared with the school’s yearly operating budget, the rise in tuition during the last seven-years and the fact that many students will never benefit from a scholarship, the $63 million suddenly appears lackluster, and the reality that higher education is too expensive becomes all the more clear.