CSU accuses state of unfair treatment
DENVER – Colorado State University President Larry Penley lashed out at Gov. Bill Ritter and other state officials on Thursday, saying CSU is getting less than its fair share of funding and may have to cut more than $5 million from its proposed budget.”The governor is unfairly permitting substantially larger funding increases for (the University of Colorado) than for CSU,” Penley said in a news release.Penley said CU is being allowed to increase tuition by between $941 and $1,398 per student, while CSU got permission to raise tuition by just $412 per student.Ritter’s spokesman, Evan Dreyer, responded that Penley was pushing “an impractical, surprise plan” that would have meant a 46 percent tuition increase for thousands of students.The unusual public criticism by Penley, president of the state’s second-largest university, came a day after the state Senate killed a budget amendment favored by CSU for a tuition increase.Dreyer and lawmakers said CSU had backed off from an agreement to work with Ritter and other university and college presidents on tuition increases.”At the very last minute, without consulting the governor, (state higher education director) David Skaggs or his students, President Penley introduces an impractical, surprise plan,” Dreyer said.Penley complained that CU is in line for a $32 million increase in the 2007-08 budget, compared with $11.4 million for CSU. Overall, CU’s spending authority is three times larger than CSU’s but its enrollment is 1.7 times greater, he said.”We built a budget assuming that finally this governor would treat Colorado State University equitably in comparison with CU and other state colleges and universities. But the state has not dealt fairly with CSU,” Penley said.He said the Colorado Commission on Higher Education has given other state schools more flexibility than CSU to narrow the gap between tuition and expenses. Those schools include Adams State, Mesa State, Western State, Fort Lewis, the University of Northern Colorado and the Colorado School of Mines, he said.”We can no longer afford to give away an education at one of the state’s top research universities at 60 percent of the cost and remain competitive or offer the high-quality education our students deserve,” Penley said.Skaggs said CSU’s needs “are very real” but the school is relatively better off than many Colorado state colleges compared to peer institutions around the country.Dreyer said the 2007-’08 budget was submitted two months before Ritter took office in January, and he had little time to adjust it.Dreyer said higher education remains a priority for Ritter and Penley’s criticism would not hurt CSU’s relationship with the governor.But he said Penley “will have some questions that he will need to answer for the governor.”
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