Presentation from Department of Higher Education
INTERIM COMMISSION TO STUDY FISCAL STABILITY
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04:27 PM -- Presentation from the Department of Higher Education
David Skaggs, Executive Director of the Department of Higher Education, discussed a document distributed to commissioners providing a summary of statistics regarding the state's higher education system (Attachment Q). He summarized the funding for Higher Education which he state is funded at a ratio of two to one between higher education funding through tuition and state funding. He reported on statistics of how Colorado compares to other states in post-secondary graduation rates, achievement in education, and the productivity of higher education institutions. He indicated that Colorado's colleges are highly productive but state contributions for funding colleges are very low compared to other states. He also described the correlation between higher education and economic opportunity.
Mr. Skaggs indicated that state funding for higher education will decline by 30 percent from FY 2007-08 levels over the next few years. Mr. Skaggs addressed the budget for higher education, noting that one-time funds are being used to fill part of the budget shortfalls for the next two budget years. He also discussed future budget shortfalls and the steps colleges are taking to prepare for the shortfalls including program cuts and tuition increases.
Dennis Jones, President of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, discussed the role and needs of higher education institutions in Colorado and in other states. Charlie Lenth, Vice President of the State Higher Education Executive Officers, described the relationship between education, income, economic strength, and societal outcomes. He also discussed how the Colorado experience compares to other states. He discussed the purpose of state spending as sustaining institutions and investing in state priorities. A copy of Mr. Jones and Mr. Lenth's presentation is provided as Attachment R.
Mr. Jones and Mr. Lenth continued by discussing state and local funding sources for higher education and metrics for measuring investment in education over time. Mr. Lenth also reported on metrics comparing the United States to other countries and discussed metrics as they relate to importing talent into Colorado from other states.
Mr. Jones discussed demographic trends in Colorado as they relate to education and the economy, citing declines in the white cohort and increases in the Hispanic cohort. He stated that Colorado will be increasingly dependant on importing talent. Mr. Lenth discussed what other states are doing to address higher education funding. He noted the use of Lottery revenue, special earmarks, leveraging more federal dollars, combining local and state revenue to support community colleges, and utilizing business investments.
Mr. Skaggs discussed the relationship between student enrollment and tuition assistance, noting that Colorado could have a more supportive financial aid program. Mr. Lenth discussed the importance of early intervention in improving enrollment rates. Responding to commission member Kirvin Knox's question regarding increased efficiency through consolidating higher education institutions, Mr. Lenth discussed the actions of others states including Louisiana and noted that colleges serve certain regional populations and that changing governance should be the last option. Responding to Ms. Cooke's question regarding cost drivers of college tuition, Mr. Lenth replied that the cost of delivering education has not changed much, but that students are paying a larger share of the cost.
Mr. Skaggs responded to additional questions of commissioners clarifying metrics reported in the presentation.
The commission adjourned.