At the most recent meeting of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, the Bell Policy Center voiced strong concerns about Gov. John Hickenlooper's proposed $30 million in cuts to the state's need-based and work-study financial aid programs in his FY 2012-13 budget request. Such cuts could reduce post-secondary educational opportunity for many low- and middle-income Coloradans.
On a cold, snowy day in Denver, we're glad to see attention focused on the "hot topics" of escalating college costs and student loan debt. We've long pointed out that the rising costs of post-secondary education and the amount of debt incurred by many students represent daunting obstacles to opportunity for low- and middle-income Coloradans.
Two annual reports released by the College Board – and a plan by President Obama unveiled during his speech in Denver – address these important issues.
It's a serious subject, but we still tried to have some fun this summer telling you about General Fund and his mounting problems. We hope our Plain Talk series made some dry topics more interesting and understandable. And it didn't hurt to have General Fund himself illustrate our points.
With Fall comes a noisy, busy season for organizations such as ours – a time that bears witness to our successes and the challenges before all of us. I ask, can you imagine Colorado without the Bell Policy Center?
Can you imagine Colorado without the Bell Policy Center?
Imagine if we hadn't written the seminal report on theTaxpayer's Bill of Rights in 2003, traveled the state to educate and build a coalition in 2004 or played a key role in passing Referendum C in 2005.
More Colorado high school students will be able to get a head start on college thanks to landmark, bipartisan legislation that is on its way to Gov. Bill Ritter.
The "concurrent enrollment" bill, strongly supported by the Bell, will allow high school students to simultaneously complete their diplomas and also earn college credits, certificates or associate's degrees.
The bill should increase participation in higher education, but research also shows that other important outcomes are likely to be lower high school dropout rates and improved school performance.
The Health Care Affordability Act of 2009 is one of Colorado's most effective reforms, but the program it fostered could be in jeopardy because budget-cutters in Washington are targeting the federal funding that makes the act work.
As talks continue on deficit reduction and increasing the debt ceiling, a number of proposals are zeroing in on the federal matching funds that cover hospital "provider fees" and help support Medicaid funding. Colorado is not alone among states that could lose funds.
Lawmakers received good news on the economic and budget fronts this morning.
State economists now estimate that the Colorado economy will continue to grow, albeit slowly, and generate enough revenue to maintain a balanced General Fund budget this year and next. This is a change from recent years, when the legislature and governor faced declining revenues and the need to make budget cuts.