Mar 012007
 
Authors: Hailey McDonald

Student leaders from CSU and several other Colo. universities will gather before the General Assembly Monday to push for an increase in funding of higher education.

Associated Students of Colorado (ASC) – a group of student government representatives from 13 schools, including CSU, CU-Boulder and Colorado School of Mines – will ask the state to invest an additional $58.5 million into higher education.

Gov. Bill Ritter and Sen. Steve Johnson (R-Fort Collins) are expected to join ASC on the west steps of the Capitol at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

August Ritter, ASC spokesman and son of Gov. Bill Ritter, said students will be lobbying for the state to match the projected investment students and families will make in higher education.

“We’re asking for legislators to put as much money into the pot as families are asked,” Ritter said.

The student lobby, Ritter says, reflects the governor’s mission for the state.

“Education is the foundation of any strong economy and any competitive workforce,” said Gov. Bill Ritter in a campaign statement. “Yet funding for our schools lags behind the increasing costs our schools face each year.”

Luke Ragland, director of legislative affairs for the Associated Students of CSU, is among those who organized the event.

“Our primary focus is promoting legislature that will affect all students in Colorado. Funding will be a large part of that focus,” he said.

While legislation regarding an increase in student funding has not been drawn up, Ragland said, the actions of current lobbying could affect all university students.

The Colorado Joint Budget Committee will compile a bill Wednesday, March 7th, that will appropriate student funding for the 2007 – 2008 fiscal year.

“The voters showed with the results of Referendum C, that higher education is a priority,” Ritter said. “In the past several years, Colorado highly under funded education. We’re just asking them to make sure they fulfill their end of the partnership.”

The funds ASC is seeking is only a fraction of the $832 million of increased funding needed for institutions like CSU, according to a recent report compiled by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

“We are just looking for what we can get right now, and we think that’s a fair request,” Ritter said.

Students from all universities are encouraged to attend the conference to endorse the proposed increase in funding. In regard to student support, Ritter added.

“I would hate for CSU to be upstaged by CU at the capitol on Monday.”

Staff writer and chief designer Hailey McDonald can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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BE THERE OR BE SQUARE:

Where: West Steps, State Capitol

Time: 1:30 p.m.

Who: Associated Students of Colorado, Governor Bill Ritter, Sen. Steve Johnson

What: Support advocacy of more funding for higher education

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