Higher Ed Trouble in Colorado

A Boulder Daily Camera op-ed makes the case for continuing to fund higher education in Colorado at adequate levels:

Medicaid, prisons, higher education: All are on the table in the face of a state budget shortfall of billions of dollars. On Wednesday, Gov. Bill Ritter announced another $286 million cut from the state budget, including $145 from higher education.

Part of the justification is the short-term, unprecedented federal stimulus to higher ed, which is set to expire next year.

A longer-term solution is critical. The University of Colorado isn’t just a major employer; it isn’t just a pretty setting for arts and entertainment. It isn’t just a place where some young people come for a few years, spreading their cash all over town.

Major institutions and companies — from the federal labs, to IBM, to the upcoming ConocoPhillips — are here because of CU. Companies all over the state are filled with its graduates.

Voters must pressure the state legislators to find a better way to fund the school.

This is happening in state after state, and it’s always a tough sell when higher ed—which always has a bullseye painted on it in tough economic times&mdsah;is just one item on a very long list of programs and institutions claiming to not be able to afford further cuts. The strongest arguments will do what this column does, which is tie higher ed into the broader economic systems that keep states performing strongly.

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Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.