Success from the session: Higher ed and student success

Post-secondary education will be more accessible, affordable and focused on student success for Colorado families this year, thanks to two bills signed into law recently by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Along with changes that affect accessibility and affordability, the way that funding is allocated to colleges and universities will be fundamentally different. Now, funding will be based, in part, on how well colleges and universities ensure that their students succeed and the extent to which they put underserved and at-risk students on a path to success.

These two bills join two previously signed bills – the College Affordability Act (Senate Bill 14-1) and Community College Four-Year Programs (Senate Bill 14-4) – in rounding out key post-secondary education legislation from this session.

The two bills are:

Outcomes-based funding for higher education: This legislation, House Bill 14-1319, is designed to change the way the state funds higher education.

Key changes include tying a portion of institutions' funding to how well they help all students succeed, and the extent to which they serve Pell-eligible, first-generation and underserved students (including working-age adults and those enrolled part time), who make up a growing share of the 21st century student body. The Bell has long supported such changes.

The bill also requires a broad-based stakeholder process, including both institutional and non-institutional voices, through which the final details of the funding formula will be developed. The Bell looks forward to participating in this process, which will begin later this summer and continue through the end of the year.

Colorado Opportunity Scholarship: House Bill 14-1384 creates the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative to award tuition assistance and to help provide support services for Colorado post-secondary students. The program will be funded through a combination of public, non-profit and private investments.

When fully developed, the scholarship program will offer financial aid directly to students, and it will provide funds for public, non-profit and community organizations that offer support services that help students succeed.

We thank the sponsors for carrying these bills:

HB 1319 – Speaker Mark Ferrandino and Rep. Chris Holbert; Sens. Kent Lambert and Nancy Todd
HB 1384 – Reps. Brittany Pettersen and Frank McNulty; Sens. Jessie Ulibarri and Larry Crowder

And we thank Gov. Hickenlooper for signing them.


Article posted on June 9, 2014