President endorses capital fee

(03-06-2008)

I would like to clarify some confusion on campus about the proposed capital fee students will vote on after Spring Break.

One misconception is that this is a vote on a tuition increase. This is false. Here are the facts:

1.) Students will vote only to approve a new capital fee, which for next year will be $10 per credit hour. For academic year 2009-10, it will increase to $21 a credit hour. The fee would be spent as follows: For every $10:

  • $7 will be spent on construction financing
  • $2 will go toward scholarships.
  • 60 cents will support building repair.
  • 25 cents will help upgrade technology.
  • 15 cents will go toward campus equipment repair.

2.) The State sets the maximum tuition increase. For next year the Department of Higher Education is recommending a tuition rate increase cap at CU, CSU, UNC, and School of Mines of 9 percent; 7 percent for Adams State and other four year institutions; and 5 percent for community colleges. If the student capital fee passes, ASC will take this into consideration when setting our tuition so that the combination of tuition and fees do not become too burdensome to our students. Whatever the increase, Adams State will still be one of the most affordable four-year colleges in the state.

Operating expenses go up each year. What state funding does not cover must be supported by tuition. Colleges must decide whether to raise tuition or cut expenses. That could mean eliminating services or programs, or allowing campus infrastructure to deteriorate.

Colorado just dropped from 48th to 49th in the nation in its funding of higher education. If you are concerned about tuition increases and want to change this trend, talk to your state legislator. If there is a state ballot initiative, vote Yes to increase the state budget for higher education.

3.) Seventy percent of the fee will finance major campus improvements, equally divided between academic buildings and student living facilities. Some of the proposed projects include remodeling of the Music and ES buildings, building a new residence hall, and upgrading current residence halls. All of these buildings are more than 40 years old and in dire need of "extreme makeovers."

Many other colleges around the state have already established similar fees or tuition increases to fund campus improvements. The proposed capital fee will allow Adams State to remain competitive.

4.) Federal financial aid increases such as the Pell grant will help many of our students absorb cost increases, but others will still need help. That's why we're committing 20 percent of the fee toward new scholarships. One-quarter of that amount will be invested in an endowment for future scholarships.

5.) Adams State is a single entity; it is a fallacy to pit housing against academics. Two thirds of Adams State students come from outside the San Luis Valley. If we do not have affordable, appealing housing, ASC will not exist. This is a community of learning and living.

Your "Yes" vote for the capital fee March 17-20 is a vote to strengthen Adams State as a whole and improve the education experience for current and future students. VOTE YES!

Dr. David Svaldi
President of Adams State College