Adams State supporters speak out at CCHE meeting


"The state needs to stop punishing the students," said Adam State University AS&F (student government) President Joe Schlabach Jr. at a meeting hosted by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) on campus Oct. 1.

Schlaback was referring to the fact that as recently as 2000, Colorado funded more than two-thirds the cost of public college attendance, with students covering the rest - that ratio is now reversed. Originally from Ohio, Schlaback is a Marine veteran majoring in business administration/economics.

Colorado ranks 47th nationally in investment in higher education, which receives 7.7 percent of the state's general fund budget. Colorado has 31 public institutions of higher education serving 247,172 students. Adams State University is one of Colorado's 13 four-year institutions.

The meeting was one of many being held across the state to gather public input as the CCHE revises its formula for allocating state general fund dollars among the state's public institutions of higher education. Facilitated by the Keystone Center and Engaged Public, Adams State's meeting drew 50 community members, students, and university faculty and staff.

Earlier this year the Colorado legislature passed and Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law House Bill 14-1319, which charges the CCHE with developing a new base funding formula and recommending tuition policies that ensure both accessible and affordable higher education for Colorado residents. The new funding model will be implemented in the 2015-16 academic year.

Participant feedback from the meetings will help CCHE prioritize a number of factors being considered in the funding formula, such as degree completion, rural or urban location, and the number of low-income, first generation and underserved undergraduate students enrolled.

Abby Stillman, who transferred to Adams State student from a much larger school on the Front Range, said Adams State's campus is very comfortable and welcoming. "There are a ton of resources here, such as tutoring and counseling. That makes it easy to ask for help."

By Julie Waechter