These are all of the Higher Education bills proposed in the 2018 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.

None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, pros, and cons are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Major, Medium and Minor. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!).

HB18-1034: Career and Technical Education Capital Grant Program

Creates a career and technical education grant program in the department of labor and employment. This program will award grants to area technical colleges, school districts, and community colleges for the use of equipment, construction, or maintenance of state buildings. The program will prioritize applicants from rural parts of the state and consider each applicant’s demonstrated need.

Pros

This is work that needs to be done anyway, so why not help local schools and their students in the process? This provides a true win-win situation, where students get invaluable real world experience and the state gets work it needs done.

Cons

Prioritizing rural areas discriminates against those in urban areas, who may be just as much in need as rural areas. In addition, any time you use less experienced labor you run the risk of sub-par work which may require more money to rectify. The whole thing sounds nice in theory but may cost the state more money in fixes.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1034

HB18-1048: Fort Lewis College Spending Hesperus Account

Eliminates the requirement that spending from the account which holds the proceeds of income from the property formerly known as Fort Lewis school requires an appropriation from the general assembly.

PASSED HOUSE

Pros

This eliminates an overly cumbersome process that no longer needs to exist. If the board of trustees for the account needs to spend money, they can do it without the state legislature looking over their shoulder.

Cons

The legislature was involved in this because these were state assets and the legislature rightly determined that they should not be spent without the consent of the state’s elected representatives. This bill wrongly changes that setup.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1048

HB18-1086: Community College Bachelor Science Degree Nursing

Allows a community college that is part of a state system of community and technical colleges to offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

PASSED HOUSE

Pros

Bachelor’s degrees in nursing are becoming more and more sought after in the field. Some employers and even states are making it a requirement. We also have a nursing shortage. The idea of having community colleges able to offer this degree is not new, other states already offer this ability to obtain the degree at far lower costs than those associated with a four-year state college like CU.

Cons

This represents mission creep for community colleges which are not setup to provide bachelor’s degrees and with good reason. This is part of how their costs stay down. In addition, it’s possible that a degree from a community college will disadvantage nurses relative to a degree from a regular four year institution.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1086

HB18-1102: Extend District Attorney Fellowships to 18 Months

Extends current one year rural district attorney fellowships for CU and DU students to 18 months.

Pros

This gives more time for these students to gain more experience and gives these rural areas more time to fulfill duties with them.

Cons

This costs the state more money. The state pays for up to six of these fellows, so six more months will require more money.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1102

HB18-1226: Higher Education Review Degree Program Costs and Outcomes

Requires state commission on higher education to review costs and outcomes for all undergraduate degrees given at the University of Colorado and Colorado State University and present a report identifying the highest cost degrees to both students and the institutions and the lowest performing with respect to post-graduation employment and earnings.

Pros

With state resources devoted to higher education getting squeezed, it’s more important than ever to make sure the schools are using their funds wisely and not for duplicative or inefficient degree programs that result in poor student employment and earnings.

Cons

You cannot measure every college degree in this manner. Different professions earn at different levels, but the world still needs teachers, artists, writers, journalists, historians, and public servants. Not to mention that many undergraduate degrees are just step one for some professions where a masters level degree is required.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB18-1226

SB18-069: Enforcement Statewide Degree Transfer Agreements

For associate degree transfers (two year programs into finishing full degree at four year program), the bill requires any higher education institution that requires a student to complete additional credit hours of lower division general education courses to be responsible for the total cost of tuition for any required hours above 120.

PASSED SENATE

Pros

While four year institutions are welcome to create their own standards for associate degree transfers, these should not be so burdensome as to saddle students with even higher costs (and likely debt).

Cons

This may give schools the incentive to design programs to fit just under this cap, even if it is not warranted academically, since the school will be on the hook for the costs.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-069

SB18-087: In-State Tuition Foreign Nationals Settled in Colorado

Grants eligibility for in-state tuition status to refugees and special immigrants admitted to the United States under federal laws who have settled in Colorado.

*This bill has been assigned to the Senate’s “kill” committee, state affairs*

PASSED SENATE

Pros

This only pertains to those who have legally entered this country through the refugee or similar special immigrant process. They have been torn away from their homes by conflict and war (sometimes as a result of action or inaction from the United States), are thoroughly vetted by the United States government, and deserve the in-state treatment for higher education this bill would provide.

Cons

Refugees are not citizens and thus are not in-state residents. While their circumstances are sad, there is no reason to give them preferential treatment over other non-US citizens living legally in the state.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-087

SB18-101: Colorado State University Global Campus Student Admission Criteria

The CSU global campus is currently prohibited from admitting first-time freshmen students who reside in the state and are under 23. This law removes the restriction.

PASSED SENATE

Pros

Traditional classroom settings are not for every would-be college student and lifting this restriction allows those that wish to pursue online education to do so. These students are already to heading to for-profit online schools which vary wildly in effectiveness. CSU global campus has received excellent marks from higher learning reviewers since its inception and keeping it away from Colorado residents to artificially help community colleges is unfair to students.

Cons

This school was designed for working adults, that’s the whole point of the restriction, which was part of the compromise in 2014 that allowed the institution to let in anyone with no college credits. This change will damage the state’s community colleges, who are the traditional source for those who are not yet ready to attend a traditional four year school, and potentially shoulder-out the working adults the school is supposed to be serving in favor of more enticing four-year student prospects.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-101

SB18-133: Higher Education Certificate Performance Funding

Currently higher education institutions receive some state funding based on their performance, the number of degrees or certificates awarded. The amount of funding received depends on the type of degree and various other factors. This bill would put the minimum amount of performance funding for a certificate from a higher institution at 0.5 weight instead of the current 0.25 weight (same as associate’s degree, bachelor’s is 1, graduate is 1.25). The bill does not change the overall money spent on higher education, just redistributes it.

Pros

The complicated formula behind this funding system is too punitive to community colleges issuing certificates. As we try to make non-four year college programs a viable path for some students, this bill will help us create that more balanced work force.

Cons

This bill takes money away from already underfunded state university system, over $1 million from CSU and nearly $2 million from CU at current funding levels. That might get passed directly into higher tuition costs. Don’t support community colleges at the expense of our four year programs.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB18-133