Students rallied the state Capitol Tuesday urging lawmakers to make room for more state funding to assist with higher education.
Students from six different colleges and universities across Colorado urged legislators to increase the amount of money that is allotted for higher education.
Katie Clausen, president of Associated Students of CSU, represented CSU and was part of an effort by about 60 students to deliver 6,000 signed postcards to state representatives that asked them to consider higher education needs in legislation.
"It was very important to get the word out," Clausen said.
Rep. Angie Paccione, D-Fort Collins, was personally handed a stack of postcards, as were other key education players in the legislature, including Sen. Sue Windels, D-Arvada, who is the chair for the Senate Education Committee.
Clausen said this issue is not just a student issue. It is a state problem that will affect everyone.
"This is becoming an economic vitality issue for the state of Colorado," Clausen said.
Clausen said lawmakers accepted the student-run press conference with open arms and said Paccione was "ecstatic" and "surprised" to receive the signature postcards. Clausen said Paccione wanted to see more cards and was willing to push her colleagues to get something on the November ballot and to resolve the financial problems seen across college campuses in Colorado.
The purpose Tuesday was to deliver the message that more state funding is essential to keeping higher education public.
Maria Bennett, director of legislative affairs for ASCSU, called Tuesday's rally responsive. Bennett said the legislators reacted well to the rally, and she credits lawmakers with making progress in helping save funds for higher education this year compared to past years.
"Overall, we accomplished our goal to let the public know we would like to see what happens with higher education," Bennett said.
Bennett said of the approximate 6,000 signature cards presented to the Hill, 2,000 were from CSU students and the Fort Collins community.
"Seeing the increased activity in Denver is a positive step," Bennett said, referring to Capitol Hill. "We really want to see students take a grassroots approach (toward support in tuition)."
House Speaker Andrew Romanoff was impressed with the rally effort.
"I applaud the students' leadership and share their desire for change. If we stay on our current course, we will become the first state in the nation to lose a public system of higher education. We can do better. Our bipartisan solution will keep the doors of higher education open for many years to come," said Romanoff, D-Denver.
Clausen said she looks forward to November in seeing an initiative to help better fund colleges and universities. Clausen said there are three rough initiatives out there, and now it comes down to lawmakers agreeing on one of them and being able to "drop the ego race."