Four-year college students could pay an unchanging tuition
amount every year under a bill passed by the state legislature on
House Bill 1207, barring Gov. Bill Owens’ veto, will allow
students to sign a contract upon admission to state
higher-education institutions that would grant them a fixed-tuition
rate if they promise to graduate in a certain amount of time.
“It’s to try to even out price increases and tuition increases
so a family can plan their budget and say we know that for the next
four years, ‘We’ve got to come up with this amount of money,'” said
Rick O’Donnell, executive director of the Colorado Commission on
The fixed rate would be strictly optional for students.
“In my own opinion, in the way I’ve seen the bill most recently,
though it hasn’t passed yet, it makes it optional to offer these
fixed-tuition contracts to students, and it makes it optional for
students to participate,” said Gerard Bomotti, vice president for
The bill was proposed by Rep. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, and
co-drafted with Ryan McMaken, executive director of the Colorado
McMaken said he believes state universities support the
“It isn’t a mandate,” McMaken said. “It’s something they wanted
to do in the past.”
Bomotti is wary of implementing such contracts in unpredictable
“An institution can best offer a fixed-tuition program over a
four-year period if the environment is more stable,” Bomotti said.
“Now, the financial environment in Colorado is not stable.”
The bill’s implementation is contingent on the passage of the
College Opportunity Fund, which is also awaiting Owens’ approval.
This bill would grant stipends, or vouchers, to in-state students
for use at state universities, rather than universities receiving
funding directly from the state.
Some stipend supporters say the College Opportunity Fund
provides the opportunity for universities to attain enterprise
status, which would give them more financial flexibility.
Owens will approve the bill this month, O’Donnell said.
He said the fixed-tuition rate would offer students and families
more choices in paying for college.
“Not every student or family’s going to want it, but it was an
option that the institutions saw they could offer that some
students would maybe find (is) an easier way to be able manage the
cost of college,” he said.
But Sen. Peggy Reeves, D-Larimer County, agrees with Bomotti
that the fixed-tuition contract bill’s timing is questionable.
“I think that we’re in a great state of flux within higher
education right now,” she said. “I think we need to implement the
college-opportunity vouchers and understand how that mechanism
works and how that shakedown works before we implement this