The Colorado Higher Education Experience with TABOR:
for Low Income Students: Colorado
ranks 45th among all states on how
well states provide access to higher education for low-income students.
Wisconsin ranks 17th.
for Resident Students: Only 26% of
18-24 year olds are enrolled in public higher education in Colorado.
Colorado with a similar population
to Wisconsin enrolls a third
fewer students in its public colleges and universities. Colorado ranks 45th of 50 states. Wisconsin ranks 23rd
and has 34% of 18-24 yr. olds enrolled in our public higher education system.
Funding: State support for public
higher education will drop to zero within ten years if present trends continue.
At the University of Colorado
at Boulder, state general fund
appropriations dropped from 20.3% of the budget in 1990 to 10.5% in 2004 (www.cu.edu/challenges.pdf)
- What impact do you think TABOR would
have on higher education in Wisconsin? Sometimes the cost of
goods and services a university must purchase (technology, lab equipment, books,
etc.) escalates faster than the consumer price index. How would these cost
increases be accommodated?
- What would be the impact on students? Could our colleges accommodate as
many? Wouldn’t tuition increase
much faster? Wouldn’t already
limited opportunities for access to night and evening courses and distance
education be further curtailed? What about funding for student financial
aid? Could programs that are
entirely self-supporting grow faster than the rate of inflation?
- Wouldn’t competition for state dollars
disadvantage UW over other areas of state spending? Under TABOR,
wouldn’t mandated state support for programs such as K-12, Medicaid (for
which feds require matching money) and corrections make it even more
difficult to fund public higher education?
- What would be the impact on
construction? Would projects
that have donor involvement be covered under this legislation? Similarly, would
buildings like dormitories, paid for entirely by student fees, require a
statewide referendum in order to proceed? What would be the impact on
local construction jobs?
- Wouldn’t we, in effect, be privatizing
the University of Wisconsin System? In Colorado,
state funding for higher education has declined precipitously (10% of UC
Boulder) budget. Wouldn’t such a decline in Wisconsin
force the closure of campuses and losses to the local economy? Isn’t Colorado
privatizing public higher education? How would we decide who can get a
state subsidized college education in Wisconsin
and who cannot? Merit? Geographical Quotas?
- Would there be impacts if UW was
exempt from TABOR? If the university
were treated like a school district and given its own spending limit,
wouldn’t it still lose GPR funding because it would be viewed as able to
raise other funds?
- Is this the path to economic growth?
The UW System cannot meet present enrollment demands. Wouldn’t TABOR
further limit access to a college degree and isn’t that just as bad for
the state’s economy in the long run?