More Colorado Students Shouldering College Costs As State Support Drops

<p>(Photo: CPR/Jenny Brundin)</p>
<p>Students walk through the University of Colorado campus in Boulder.</p>
Photo: CU Boulder 2
Students walk through the University of Colorado campus in Boulder.

Colorado is one of only six states where that's happening.

The report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows the vast majority of states are spending less compared to pre-recession levels. Colorado is down 8.4 percent in state funding -- about $435 per student.

"As costs rise it may push a student to take a semester or two off in an effort to save money," said Michael Mitchell, a policy analyst with the organization, which says it pursues "federal and state policies designed both to reduce poverty and inequality."

"For other students, rising costs may be too much all together and it pushes them to drop out altogether," Mitchell said.

The report shows tuition here has risen 57 percent from 2008, the eighth-highest increase in the nation. But Colorado was one of five states to increase funding by more than 10 percent in colleges from last year to this year.

Nationally, funding for public two- and four-year colleges is $8.7 billion below what it was prior to the recession, when adjusted for inflation. Meanwhile, the price of attending college has risen significantly - $2,333, or 33 percent, since the 2007-08 school year. The average state is spending $1,525, or 17 percent, less per student than they were in 2008 after adjusting for inflation.

This past year, states tried to make improvements. Thirty-eight states increased per student funding in the last year, amounting to $275 per student nationally.