Sometimes even the most "enterprising" ideas shouldn't be taken at face value.
CSU officials and state legislators have called enterprise status the savior of Colorado higher education. And with good reason. With the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights and Amendment 23 combining to restrict universities' access to much-needed state funding, enterprise status is one of the few options state colleges have to protect their interests.
Enterprise status allows state universities to operate more like private businesses because less than 10 percent of their funding comes directly from the state. This status combines with a newly implemented per-student voucher system to allow universities greater control over tuition increases because tuition money is considered state money. This, in effect, allows universities to make up lost revenue from TABOR and Amendment 23 through tuition money.
People say this is the last option to save higher ed. However, if that's the case, why hasn't the enterprise status/vouchers combo been used in any other state?
It may be the only option available to save higher ed in the long term, but the idea needs to be taken with a grain of salt. For right now, it's an untested idea that may or may not work for CSU. The University of Colorado-Boulder was granted enterprise status in August, and students there are looking at extremely large tuition increases without knowing if those increases are going to increase the quality of education.
Enterprise status may be all that will help. But it's also important to remember it is also a theoretical idea that has no practical evidence of success.
It's good that CSU and state officials are coming up with creative ideas to help the funding crisis. Let's just hope the fact that it's such an "enterprising" idea doesn't make current and future CSU students lose the "prize" of an affordable, quality education.