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An historical day: Trustees pass new unsubsidized tuition rate, approve new university seal

By Donna Fowler

The Metropolitan State College of Denver Board of Trustees today made history by voting 7–1 to approve the new Colorado High School/GED Tuition Rate proposed by President Stephen Jordan.

A standing-room-only crowd in TIV 320 of more than 200 students, faculty and staff from Metro State as well as numerous community members, including several state legislators, gave the trustees a standing ovation after the vote.

The Colorado High School/GED Tuition Rate is for students living in the state of Colorado who through no fault of their own do not have the lawful status to be eligible for resident tuition rates. This unsubsidized rate is substantially higher than the resident tuition rate—by about $2,800 per year for 15 credits per semester—but is significantly lower than the out-of-state rate.

No tax dollars or state or federal public benefit or subsidy will be used for this special rate. Jordan said it will be “truly unsubsidized” as there is even a $650.60 capital construction fee to account for the use of campus buildings that were built using state general funds.

Jordan said that in discussing the proposal, the administration had been absolutely cognizant to abide by state statutes. “We have the legislative authority to establish nonresident rates and there are existing examples from other institutions.”

The criteria for the new rate are the same as those in the ASSET bill, which had failed to pass in the state legislature. Unlike the ASSET bill, Metro State’s program does not offer state support. To be eligible, students must meet the following criteria, beyond the existing admissions requirements:

· attended a Colorado high school for at least three years;

· graduated from a Colorado high school or received a general equivalency diploma (GED) in this state; and

· provide a statement that they are in good legal standing, other than their undocumented or unclassified status, and are seeking or intend to seek lawful status when eligible.

It was on the third criteria that Trustee Bill Hanzlik said his support had an asterisk. “We need to keep track of this requirement of intent to seek legal status and give them the help they need to attain it.”

Of the 21 people who had signed up to give public testimony, alumnus Joe Farber was the sole person to express his disapproval. He said that Metro State needs to “hold the line at the light of truth, not political correctness.”

Several current Metro State students who are undocumented were among those testifying, including Hector, who declined to provide his last name. He said his father had brought him to the United States when he was 14 years old. He had always been good at school and dreamed of attending college. He attends at Metro South, where the tuition is lower than at the Auraria Campus. Even so, he said that after six semesters he is still a freshman since he’s paying for his tuition out of his own pocket and can only afford to attend part-time.

“This will allow me to attend classes on the main campus and is a path to citizenship,” he said.

The politicians who testified for the new rate were Sen. Pat Steadman, Rep. Crisanta Duran and Denver City Council member Judy Montero.

A common theme expressed by supporters was gratitude that Metro State has the courage and the leadership to implement the new tuition rate.

Following the testimony, Board Chair Rob Cohen called for a roll-call vote. Each of the eight voting trustees present (Dawn Bookhardt was unable to attend) expressed the reason for their vote, including Jack Pogee, who said that while he is sympathetic to undocumented students, he does not feel that this is the right process to address the issue.

The other seven trustees expressed passionate support for the new tuition category, including Hon. Terrance Carroll, who said that he regrets that the ASSET bill didn’t pass while he was the Speaker of the House in 2009-10. “It is important for us to lead the way,” he said.

Planned tuition increase
In addition to the Colorado High School/GED Tuition Rate, the board approved a 13 percent increase in the in-state tuition rate and a 9 percent increase in the non-resident rate starting fall 2012. Both increases were part of Metro State’s Five-Year Financial Accountability Plan approved by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education in 2010.

Vice President of Administration, Finance and Facilities Natalie Lutes said that even with the increase Metro State still has the lowest tuition in the state.

University shortened name, logo and seal
Associate to the President for Marketing and Communications Cathy Lucas, who chairs the Name Change Transition Team, presented the design of the new Metropolitan State University of Denver formal logo, informal MSU Denver logo and official seal.

Branding firm Sector Brands presented the results of a recent online survey that asked students, faculty, staff, alumni and other supporters to vote for their preference of a shortened name to use when the institution becomes a university on July 1. The shortened name will be used in the informal logo.

The survey drew 5,500 responses, the vast majority of which—85 percent—came from students and alumni. The vote totals were a near tie, with 44 percent preferring Metro State and 41 percent choosing MSU Denver. Metro State U was a distant third.

Faculty, staff and administrators preferred Metro State, while students and alumni chose MSU Denver.

According to Sector Brands, the main reasons people voted for Metro State was that it has brand recognition and ties to the past. The three reasons respondents mentioned for preferring MSU Denver were that Denver is an important word to have in the name; they strongly preferred that the “U” be in the shortened name; and it is more prestigious.

Based on these results, Sector Brands recommended that MSU Denver be the shortened name because it best meets goals of the Strategic Name Initiative including better defining the school's status as a four-year institution and emphasizing our geographic location. Also, using MSU Denver as the shortened name will align with the institution’s new domain name of msudenver.edu.

It is understood that Metro State as a nickname will never go away entirely. “People will still say Metro State,” said Sector Brand’s Chuck Gross. “And the Athletics Department will have both Metro State and the informal logo with MSU Denver across their uniforms. “

Jordan said that he feels that the shortened name of MSU Denver will keep one foot in our past while placing one foot in our future. “It is possible and important to do both. Colloquially we will always be Metro State, but considering how hard we had to fight to keep the word Denver in our name, I am persuaded that MSU Denver is the best choice. ”

Affiliate art faculty member Scott Surine presented the new formal logo and seal seen below:


 Other significant changes include that the “M-Bird” will no longer be used and the Roadrunner has been redesigned to be more legible and reproducible. To view Surine’s presentation click here.

Trustee Melody Harris, who is an expert in branding, acknowledged the work involved to develop the new logo in less than one month. She called it amazing, and considering that working with a team of 20 people on branding issues can be emotional, “it had to have been like herding cats. But you brought everyone together and the result is elegant and wonderful.”

The logo is now available for download on Brand Central; however it is not to appear on any publications until the new name becomes official on July 1.


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