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Higher Ed in the News

Colorado higher-ed leader sees disaster ahead

August 24, 2009

Colorado's director of the Department of Higher Education says higher education is headed for an "absolutely breathtaking" fiscal cliff when federal stimulus money goes away in two years.

Strategic planning initiative to begin in Sept.

David Skaggs, director of the Department of Higher Education, painted the grim picture at a legislative hearing but added that a "strategic planning initiative" set to begin next month could include suggestions for new revenue sources.

Some college presidents have questioned the study and worry solutions will come too late to stave off more program cuts.

Bruce Benson, president of the University of Colorado, said he told Skaggs that if the state goes ahead with the study, it must look at what he calls "mission creep," or schools duplicating programs.

"If you're going to do a study, do it right, do it complete," Benson said.

Flexibility urged

Benson wrote to Gov. Bill Ritter this month asking that universities be allowed to set tuition rates and be granted "flexibility in a variety of areas" to deal with their budget problems.

Gov. Ritter and his budget officer, Todd Saliman, announced last week that higher education was being cut by $81 million in order to close a $318 million budget hole.

The money will be backfilled with stimulus money, provided the state gets a waiver to use the funds that way.

The waiver is expected to be approved.

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Read the full story in the Denver Post.