Mar 112009
 
Authors: Caleb Thorton

Every time I take a look at my bank statements revealing just how many student loans I have had to take out, I shudder.

OK, it’s not that bad. I know plenty of people who owe a heck of a lot more than I do, but I just can’t help but wonder why my loan seems to have been growing every semester. And then the obvious answer comes to me — tuition has gone up since I first got here, and it hasn’t just been a few bucks here or there, it’s been substantial.

In fact, since 2003, tuition here at CSU was raised 52 percent, while mandatory student fees have gone up more than 70 percent. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but with the way that higher educational funding is set up here in Colorado, that trend is not going to stop anytime soon.

Frankly, you can’t blame the University much for raising tuition and fees (though I have sometimes wondered what exactly my liberal arts technology fee has been going to/– especially when watching some documentary on a VHS player that might be older than I am.)

The fact of the matter is that higher education funding in the state of Colorado is bad — in fact it’s downright awful. I’m sure most of you know this already, but Colorado ranks dead last per capita for funding of higher education.

And now we are hearing from the governor’s office that higher education funding will be cut even more in this year’s budget, with an estimated $100 million out the door for public universities.

So the problem is obvious — costs are increasing, while funding is decreasing, and the difference is being made up by students. So what is the solution?

Honestly, I’m not sure that there is one simple solution. The fact of the matter is that no matter how much we may complain and moan, we are not getting any more funding from the state this year — no one is. So in the short term, it looks like we might be stuck with higher tuition and fees in the years to come.

But if we want some kind of help in the long term what we desperately need is someone who can represent CSU down at the state Capitol well enough to bring home the bacon. This is why I believe that splitting the president and chancellor positions was such a good idea — there just is not enough time for one person to handle CSU and the state legislature.

This is why I also believe that former Sen. Wayne Allard would be such an excellent fit for the position.

First and foremost — the former senator is a CSU graduate who represented the Fourth Congressional District in the House of Representatives. The guy knows what the needs are up here in Northern Colorado and, as an alumnus of CSU, has a vested interest in seeing the University succeed.

He also has time serving as a state representative for Larimer and Weld Counties in the state Capitol and undoubtedly has ties to the political establishment here in Colorado — both invaluable resources when lobbying down in Denver.

Finally, the former senator carries with him enough experience in the political realm to know what it will take to get some funding back to CSU, even with competition from other universities present.

Let’s face it, we may be hurting for cash, but just think of what those spoiled hippies down the road are doing without the same funding?

OK, you’re right, they are probably just getting it from Mom and Dad, but regardless you can bet they will be actively lobbying for cash when the time comes — and unlike so many other competitions during my tenure here, this is a matchup that, with the right person, I think we can win.

Caleb Thornton is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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