Jan 242005
 
Authors: Megan Buettgenbach

* Visit https://cof.college-access.net/cofapp/ to sign-up for the stipend.

* Visit Room 100 in the Administration Annex Building, call 491-6321 or visit sfs.colostate.edu for more information.

Starting this fall, all in-state undergraduates have one more thing to remember when planning for college.

Colorado legislators have changed the way in-state undergraduates receive their money for college. All in-state undergraduates must sign up for the College Opportunity Fund to receive stipends to cover part of their college costs.

"Previously, Colorado gave money to Colorado universities based on how many Colorado students were in each university," said Bill Haid, CSU's executive director of enrollment services. "Now, we report to (Colorado) that each student has asked that this stipend will be used. The state will provide financial assistance for every in-state undergraduate starting fall 2005."

The stipend covers the cost of $80 per credit hour up to 145 credits.

"Not counting tuition increase, what you pay out of your pocket will be the same," Haid said. "The stipend portion (amount) does not change."

In-state undergraduates can sign up at https://cof.college-access.net/cofapp/. All that is needed is a name, Social Security number and birth date.

CSU will send e-mails to all in-state undergraduates sometime this week informing them of these changes, said Linda Kuk, vice president for student affairs.

Even though students apply for the stipend only once, every term they need to visit RAMweb and permit CSU to receive their portion of the opportunity fund. More information will be included in the e-mail.

Colorado legislators believe handing out money on a student-by-student basis will encourage more of Colorado high school students to go to college, Haid said.

Also, by implementing the opportunity fund, universities could become exempt from Taxpayer's Bill of Rights requirements.

TABOR restricts the amount of revenue – which includes tuition – state entities can collect from the state. The use of stipends in the College Opportunity Fund means state universities could technically receive less than 10 percent of their funding from the state, thus freeing them from TABOR restrictions and making them more like private businesses.

"The requirements are restrictions on how much revenue (CSU) can collect, which includes tuition," Haid said.

Some students are not happy with this change.

"It is stupid," said sophomore Jessica Liss, a business management and psychology major. "(The stipend) does not really seem fair if you do not know about it."

Justin Brady, a senior technical journalism major, agreed students should be well informed.

"People need to know about it in advance so it does not affect them later on," said Justin Brady. "I think it is tricky, the way they are going about delivering the money to students. But overall, it is a positive thing."

There is no deadline, but students should sign up before they receive their tuition bills to make use of the stipend.

"We know that students will have lots of questions, and we want them to know that we want them to contact us at Room 100 in the Administration Annex, by calling 491-6321, or by visiting sfs.colostate.edu," Haid said. "We know it is going to be a big change."

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