Aug 302005
Authors: Vimal Patel

CSU attained enterprise status Monday, clearing the way for the college to raise tuition without constitutional limits.

Eight other state colleges, along with CSU, achieved the status, which will allow them to bypass the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR), a constitutional amendment passed in 1992 that limits the amount of tuition they could collect.

The state's Legislative Audit Committee voted 6-1 to approve the status.

"You have more autonomy to raise tuition or fees and to have those fees coming in when state funding is decreasing," said Michele McKinney , communications director at the University of Colorado-Boulder, which received enterprise status last year. "It's hard when your revenue drops. You have to make that up somewhere."

The new designation will allow CSU to increase tuition, which, prior to enterprise status, was limited to inflation plus population growth.

Enterprise status is available to state universities, or any state agency, that receives less than 10 percent of its funding from the state.

According to a CU statement last year, "we sought this status to ensure that, as a critical public service, we can survive financially and continue providing quality education to Colorado students."

Keith Ickes , vice president of administrative services at CSU, said the university's new status will go a long way toward boosting funding.

"In the past we haven't been able to debt-finance academic buildings," Ickes said. "With enterprise status, we can begin to construct our own academic buildings."

A priority, Ickes said, is the University Center for the Arts on College Avenue. College officials will begin discussing the future of the building with the Associated Students of CSU in about a month, he said.

Cash-strapped education funding was in desperate need of a funding injection, Ickes said, adding that Colorado ranks 47th among U.S. states in the amount of per-capita funding it expends on education.

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