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ERIC Number: ED526533
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 311
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1245-1604-2
Reduction in Public Funding for Postsecondary Education in Colorado from 1970 to 2010: A Study Documenting Change and the Resulting Shift from Public to Private Good
Burnett, Brian D.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
This study examines and chronicles the change in public funding for postsecondary education in Colorado from 1970 to 2010. Colorado was ranked sixth among states in per capita funding for public higher education in 1970 and declined to 48th in 2010. The study analyzed state appropriations over this time period in five broad categories of spending: K-12 education, health and human services, courts and criminal justice, higher education, and the category entitled "other" combining all remaining functions of state government. Findings demonstrate that since 1970, after adjusting for inflation, the total state general fund budget appropriations have increased by 231%, K-12 appropriations increased by 314%, health and human services increased by 662%, the courts and criminal justice program increased by 712%. Public higher education general fund appropriations increased 8.9% over this time period and other parts of state government declined by 55%. Since 1970, higher education enrollment in Colorado grew by 138%, thus, in inflation adjusted terms, state spending on higher education on a per student basis declined by 55%. This study also shows that higher education and the other category of state government functions have increased the use of fees or cash funds to offset the loss of the historical share of general fund. The mixed methods study includes interviews with many current and former Governors, legislators, and higher education officials with knowledge in key areas of the budget and the political process, and chronicles significant events influencing the budget including the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR), expanding federal mandates in Medicaid, Constitutional amendments protecting K-12 funding, the growth of the corrections and criminal justice system, the 2008-10 recession, and other political and public policy choices that led to these changes in Colorado. The study culminates with the drastic funding cut looming for the state budget following the expiration of temporary federal stimulus funds. The resulting cuts expected for higher education will place the burden of increasing tuition on students. The study recommendations call for leadership to address the underlying problems that are forcing public higher education in Colorado dangerously close to privatization. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado