I was on campus at Colorado State University in Pueblo yesterday and had the privilege of listening to President Lesley DiMare and Provost Rick Kreminski describe and explain the University’s budget environment. As part of the discussion Dr. Kreminski shared data on higher education funding by State.
I was absolutely shocked to learn that Colorado is one of the very stingiest states in the US when it comes to funding for public colleges and universities. Dr. Kreminski said Colorado ranked behind 47 States with only New Hampshire and Massachusetts contributing less per student. I Googled “higher education funding by state” and found this page on the collegeboard.org website:
This page contains similar data (maybe it’s a year older) but Colorado fares even worse here, ranking 49th out of 50 states in higher ed funding. And it’s not that all states contribute about the same with Colorado just a bit below the others. Colorado spends a fraction of what most States spend per student. It’s ridiculous and shameful.
Let’s look at our neighborhood in the Mountain West/Southwest/Plains region. Colorado borders six states: Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. Here are data for these six states and Colorado.
|State||Funding Per Public FTE Student||Funding Per $1,000 in Personal Income|
Can you believe that? Dead last. And not even close.
For every dollar the State of Wyoming gives to higher ed per student, in Colorado we contribute a pathetic $0.25.
Why is this? What political force has lobbied for budget policy whereby we contribute less than half per student than the citizens of Alabama or Mississippi? Do we really consider higher education to be so unimportant in Colorado?
I don’t think so. I don’t think Colorado residents are aware of this disparity. And if voters became aware, I think they’d be outraged. I am.