Sep 262004
Authors: Lindsay Reiter

The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education is

pulling out the red pen to grade Colorado’s higher education


The center recently compiled report cards for all 50 states in

its report, “Measuring Up 2004.”

In categories such as preparation and participation, Colorado

received A’s and B’s. However, the state received a D- in


According to the report, affordability in Colorado’s higher

education has not changed noticeably over the past 10 years.

The center’s Web site,, states “the

affordability category measures whether students and families can

afford to pay for higher education given income levels, financial

aid and the types of colleges and universities in the state.”

“I think this is a fair grade because I know how expensive it

can be for college tuition in-state or out-of-state (for CSU

students) compared to other schools,” said Jared Adams, a sophomore

mechanical engineering major.

Keith Ickes, interim vice president for administrative services,


“I don’t think this is a fair grade because the standards that

the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education has are

very specific. They hold a specific concept of what they believe

constitutes as affordable. It is essentially a political agenda,”

Ickes said.

According to the report, the average family sending a student to

a public university in Colorado spends 24 percent of its income on

tuition, compared to only 16 percent in top-ranked affordability


It also said the average student borrows $3,495 in loans to pay


The affordability category also assesses the percentage of money

each state invests in need-based financial aid as compared to the

amount of money the federal government invests.

Colorado invests 41 percent of need-based financial aid on

student grants.

California received the highest grade in the affordability

category with a B, and 36 states received an F on their

affordability report card.

“To put it into perspective, compare Colorado to Illinois. Both

states have a similar per capita income, Illinois is ranked seventh

and Colorado is eighth, but in-state tuition for Illinois is more

than $6,000 per year. In Colorado, though, in-state tuition is

$2,940 per year. Even though the per capita income is very similar

and the tuition is very different, both states received (a D),”

Ickes said.

He said the report should not affect enrollment at CSU.

“When parents look to send their kids to college they will

compare Colorado’s in-state tuition to out-of-state tuition and

private-college tuition and they will find that it makes much more

financial sense to send their kids to a Colorado school,” Ickes



State of Colorado’s


Preparation: A-

Participation: B

Affordability: D-

Completion: B-

Benefits: A

Learning: Incomplete

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