CU chancellor gathers with Junction alums

University of Colorado Chancellor Phil DiStefano wants to make paying tuition easier for his student body, which will include 259 students from Grand Junction this fall, while also investigating new ways to receive college funding.

The school held informational meetings about financial aid and scholarships throughout the year in Colorado and in 16 cities around the United States. With a weak economy and a narrow escape from state funding cuts this year, CU wants students to learn how best to pay for college.

At the same time, Colorado colleges should look for the best ways to fund themselves, DiStefano said Friday before an alumni meeting he attended in Grand Junction. The meeting was one in a series of meetings around the state where DiStefano met with alumni and sought opinions on how the college should look and operate in 10 to 20 years.

Public universities in Colorado are primarily funded by tuition and state tax dollars. DiStefano said he’d prefer not to break students’ banks with tuition, so he’d like the state to consider a higher education funding rule similar to Amendment 23, which requires lawmakers to increase K-12 funding by inflation plus 1 percent each year.

DiStefano said he would be in favor of universities getting a slice of the Colorado Lottery intake and is trying to drum up private fundraising activities, although he said he was not seeking donations on his recent trip to Grand Junction.

DiStefano said going to the voters for help is not a likely option.

“I don’t think this state will support an extra tax for higher education,” he said.

Although DiStefano chose not to raise tuition by the 8 to 9 percent common in recent years, CU did increase in-state tuition costs by 3.9 percent for next year. Nonresidents will pay 5 percent more than last year.

During this economic recession, fewer students living outside the state are choosing CU, and more Colorado residents are choosing to stay put, DiStefano said.

CU’s ratio of in-state to out-of-state students has been 55 percent to 45 percent in years past, DiStefano said. School officials predict the ratio will look more like 58 to 59 percent in-state students this fall, with the portion of nonresidents dropping to 41 to 42 percent of the student population.

The cost of room and board increased by about 5.5 to 6 percent, according to DiStefano.


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