I was happy to read Ian Bezek’s column in the Collegian this week about the high cost of attending college. As a former CSU student and Colorado resident, I think it’s important that students understand that college, while fun, can be a costly venture.
And, as Mr. Bezek aptly pointed out, student involvement in local politics can have an impact on those high costs.
I was disappointed that Mr. Bezek’s column lacked important fact-checking that is necessary when discussing such a critical issue. The assertion that CSU tuition is high because of new construction on campus lacks credibility.
Although it may be true that a very small proportion of tuition dollars is used to fund capital construction, a majority of that funding comes from university issued bonds not paid for with tuition dollars. A call to the school’s administration office would have confirmed that fact.
In addition, Mr. Bezek’s claim that the state Legislature was able to avoid major funding cuts to higher education this year by employing a stop-gap measure that “(swiped) money from an insurance company’s rainy-day fund” is incorrect.
Although some in the Legislature did argue that $500 million in the reserve of Pinnacol Assurance, a quasi-state agency offering last resort workers compensation insurance, should be used to backfill the state’s budget shortfall, the strategy was never approved. The legislation to use the Pinnacol money died in the Statehouse after Gov. Bill Ritter said he would not support it.
Instead, the state kept higher education funding in place using funds generated from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
CSU students should be aware that a continuation of the sour economic conditions in Colorado could lead to future large-scale cuts to higher education.
Most importantly, students should know that their voices can be heard at the Capitol. But, as Mr. Bezek accurately opined, that will only occur if they are aware of the reality facing them, their university and the state.
CSU alum class of 2004