CSU President Larry Penley has been keeping busy begging for money from the federal government and private donors to fund various research projects — and he’s been doing a damn good job.
Unfortunately for CSU students struggling with tuition and fees, it’s not going to help you one bit — at least not anytime soon.
Odds are you’ve probably heard of Penley’s latest success — in fiscal year 2008, CSU spent a record-breaking $303 million on research projects, including the much publicized “Superclusters,” which university officials say will bring exposure and, hopefully, money to our campus.
While this is all well and good, these funds do nothing to alleviate increasing tuition and fees, which have risen by 52 and 73 percent respectively since Penley’s arrival in 2003.
What’s particularly distressing is that these research projects, while primarily funded by government grants, dip about $45 million into the “general fund,” which is made up primarily by tuition dollars — a 42 percent jump since 2002.
There are some at the university who claim this money should instead be used to fund the starving academic colleges. We agree.
Given the fact that Colorado remains 50th in the nation for higher education funding — $832 million behind other states, studies show — it’s quite clear our energy should be focused on finding money for our academic programs. Expensive research projects don’t help with instruction for undergrads — the university’s bread and butter for funds.
It’s high time Penley re-evaluates his priorities. Students and faculty should be at the top of the list.