Three-way race for statewide at-large CU Regent seat | PostIndependent.com

Three-way race for statewide at-large CU Regent seat

Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

Q. What’s your approach to addressing the funding gap for higher education in Colorado, and finding a balance between state funding and tuition?

A. State funding is the single most pressing issue for higher education in Colorado. Why? Because there will be no public money for public colleges in 11 years, if not much sooner.

My approach is for all higher education institutions to come together, make our case to the voters and ask for their support. Other measures can help, but there is no way to replace the millions of dollars in state support that CU has lost through other means.

In the meantime, CU can replace some lost state support by: increasing our technology transfer efforts to help businesses license more technology and research as a revenue source; continuing to focus on private fundraising, philanthropy and naming opportunities; finding more efficiencies and increase productivity; developing new revenue streams, e.g. special courses for non-degree-seeking students, and by developing public/private partnerships to fund new buildings or programs.

Q. Have the recent tuition increases for CU been fair?

A. Good, no. Fair, yes. No one likes tuition increases.

The regents always try to strike the balance between keeping tuition down and quality high.

Because I put myself through college, I’m very sensitive about tuition increases. I understand that families and college students have to make tremendous sacrifices to pay for college, and that is always on my mind when we vote on tuition. The biggest pressures on CU’s budget are that state funding is down, and our student enrollment is up.

Q . Should Colorado community college graduates be afforded automatic admission to transfer to CU?

A. During my first term, I initiated and led the campaign for a Guaranteed Admissions Program. On Nov. 16, 2010, the University of Colorado Board of Regents voted unanimously to guarantee university admission to Colorado community college students who have completed 30 transferable semester hours with a 2.7 grade point average or better.

This ground-breaking guaranteed admissions program is one of the best in the country for community college students. The guaranteed admissions program provides community college students a clear path to complete a four-year degree, empowering those with the talent and desire to fulfill their dreams.

While that impacts individuals and families, it also impacts Colorado and the United States. How? By helping us compete in the global marketplace with the best trained, best educated talent.

Q. Do you support Metro State’s recent decision to offer a special tuition rate for undocumented students who graduate from Colorado high schools, and should CU follow suit?

A. I do support Metro State’s recent decision on special tuition rates for undocumented students because it is consistent with Colorado’s ASSET legislation, which I also support. The ASSET legislation provides undocumented high school graduates affordable access to Colorado’s colleges and universities.

I don’t think that students should be held accountable for their parents illegally immigrating to the U.S. while the student was a child. Making college affordable for these students also makes economic sense.

By 2018, Colorado needs 67 percent of our workforce to have a community college certificate, associate’s degree or four-year degree. We are currently in the mid-50s.

If these students have the talent and drive to succeed in college, we need them in our workforce. I think we need to wait to see what, if any, legal ramifications Metro faces (will they be sued?), and to see what actions the Legislature takes before CU moves on the issue.

Q. What’s your approach to addressing the funding gap for higher education in Colorado, and finding a balance between state funding and tuition?

A. The funding gap has resulted from squeezing of the state budget by both limited revenue due to recent economic downturns and increased demands in other areas, such as K-12 spending and increased mandates by Congress for social spending.

I suggest dedicating new revenue from legalizing and taxing marijuana to go toward higher education. This would also reduce prison expenses, freeing more funds for higher education.

I oppose tax increases to fund higher education. Tuition will continue to increase unless CU is able to increase other revenue streams or efficiencies.

The current instruction model of 20 or 30 students in person, via lecture or recitation, may change as educators determine more effective ways of utilizing technology.

All CU campuses are research universities, but some consideration must be given to faculty teaching productivity, perhaps by decreasing service allocations. More administrative efficiency must be found. CU might save money by eliminating diversity programs and staff and simply giving racial minorities full scholarships.

Q. Have the recent tuition increases for CU been fair?

A. Again, the current instruction model has been in effect for centuries, so costs increase proportionally to enrollment and there have been few economies of scale. As more national funding is made available for higher education and CU participates in an “arms race” for professors, salaries and tuition escalate.

There might be a bubble in college tuition as consumers (students and their parents) seek better values. Energy costs have also been increasing faster than inflation.

Overall, CU is relatively efficient, all things considered, but must not rest on its laurels and instead seek even more efficiencies (especially in administration), eliminate waste and contain costs.

I support repealing the CU Boulder Student Athletic Fee, which is a direct student tax subsidy to the athletic department and is obsolete with increased revenue from joining the PAC-12.

The recent tuition increases have been least fair to part-time and summer school students at CU Boulder and UC Denver, which give discounted tuition to full-time fall/spring students.

Q. Should Colorado community college graduates be afforded automatic admission to transfer to CU?

A. Colorado community college students are already blessed with various course credit transfer agreements and guaranteed transfer and admission to CU with some reasonable qualifications.

I applaud my opponent, Stephen Ludwig, for facilitating these agreements.

Unfortunately, he and the rest of the Democrats on the Board of Regents support policies that discriminate against many legal resident CU students, even more than against undocumented immigrants.

Q. Do you support Metro State’s recent decision to offer a special tuition rate for undocumented students who graduate from Colorado high schools, and should CU follow suit?

A. No and no, not because I’m against treating undocumented immigrants unfairly, but because both Metro and CU (Boulder and Denver, not Colorado Springs) have tuition schedules that would charge many legal Colorado residents more per credit hour than many illegal immigrants in the same program, even after consideration of the different handling of the College Opportunity Fund stipend.

Part-time and summer school students are charged more per credit hour than full-time students taking more than a minimum full-time load, even though it takes the same credits and educational resources to graduate no matter how many are taken at a time. And many part-time and summer school students can’t become full-time fall/spring students due to family, financial or employment commitments or disabilities.

It is difficult to get the UC-Boulder administration to significantly address this inequity. This spring, the UC-Boulder administration proposed a baby step toward tuition linearity (proportionality), but the entire Board of Regents, including Stephen Ludwig, rejected it, failing miserably in their job to look out for all students (Regent Bosley missed the vote).

As the grandson of an immigrant, while I am sympathetic to the situation of undocumented immigrants, our first priority is to our own citizens. First eliminate tuition discrimination against many legal Colorado resident students, and then worry about treatment of undocumented immigrants.

Q. What’s your approach to addressing the funding gap for higher education in Colorado, and finding a balance between state funding and tuition?

A. I will work to improve CU’s funding gap through responsible cost reduction and revenue generation. CU must continue to look for efficiencies and be willing to adapt the education business model in order deliver quality education at an affordable price. Students and families cannot continue to borrow at an unsustainable rate in order to attend college.

Funding of public higher education is an excellent investment and a strategic need to ensure the future competitiveness and leadership of our country in a global economy. Innovative proposals for both public and private funding must be on the table in order to maintain the excellence CU is known for in our state and the nation.

As a three-time graduate of the CU system, I am committed to improving the institution’s financial sustainability while improving quality.

Q. Have the recent tuition increases for CU been fair?

A. CU’s tuition has risen an average of more than 8 percent annually over the past five years, putting the squeeze on families and forcing an entire generation of “Buffs” to risk bankrupting a future in order to pay for college. It is not fair to indebt students and families, but given rapid and drastic declines in public funding, tuition increases serve to fill the gap.

Student debt in the U.S. now tops $1 trillion, accounting for more debt than consumer credit card and auto loan debt combined.

I am committed to putting students’ well-being first by working to contain costs, eliminated valueless spending, identify program duplication, and developing alternative funding sources. CU must invest in improving education quality in order to produce CU graduates who can easily become productive members of American society.

As CU Regent, I will always recognize students, alumni and the community as being valued customers.

Q. Should Colorado community college graduates be afforded automatic admission to transfer to CU?

A. One of my three main goals involves quality education programs to support American economic competitiveness and social leadership. Our nation is at risk of falling behind others with regard to a competitive workforce.

University education programs must prepare graduates for jobs in the real world, regardless of study area. To maintain the quality of education at any higher education institution, we must maintain standards and promote access for qualified students.

In 2010, Gov. Ritter signed HB 1208, which helped lead the way toward the current CU Guaranteed Admission program developed under CU President Benson. The bill provides the framework for 14 statewide transfer agreements between two-year and four-year colleges in Colorado.

Enhanced transfer agreements between Colorado’s colleges are mutually beneficial for students, families, and most importantly, the Colorado economy. Colorado’s higher education system must keep pace with workforce demands, and partnering with community colleges is a step in the right direction.

Q. Do you support Metro State’s recent decision to offer a special tuition rate for undocumented students who graduate from Colorado high schools, and should CU follow suit?

A. Tuition classification has traditionally been the jurisdiction of the Colorado Legislature.

I do not believe individual institutions of higher education should be creating new tuition classifications based on any status other than in-state and out-of-state.

Immigration is a real and significant topic throughout Colorado. Offering a new tuition rate for undocumented individuals has far-reaching and potentially unintended consequences, both positive and negative.

The Colorado Legislature has debated this issue in recent sessions, and I trust that our civic process and duly elected representatives will act in accordance with the will of the people regarding any change to the current tuition classification system.


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