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Recapping the year at the Capitol

See how the University’s state funding shook out and which faculty fought for new legislation.

By Story by Matt Watson | Photo by Mark Stahl

May 17, 2018

MSU Denver Champions
MSU Denver Champions' Alejandra Perez (left) and School of Education Dean Liz Hinde.

Once Colorado’s 2018 legislative session adjourned May 9, legislators had introduced 723 bills during the four-month term and Metropolitan State University of Denver had engaged in or monitored more than 10 percent of them with a varying degree of impact on the University.

Funding base gets 9.4 percent boost

As always, the state budget is the biggest issue for any public university. MSU Denver’s projected base allocation based on the Long Appropriation Act increased by $4.86 million for the next fiscal year, a 9.4 percent increase to about $56.5 million, which covers close to one-fourth of the University’s operating budget.

The state budget also capped in-state tuition increases for universities at 3 percent, which is how much MSU Denver’s tuition will rise for resident and nonresident students for 2018-19. The bill also provides for an increase in financial-aid and work-study funds, with an estimated $1.73 million set aside for MSU Denver students, which comes close to offsetting the tuition increase.

Senate Bill 262, Higher Education Targeted Master Plan Funding, implements an additional $16.8 million one-time fund to support higher-education institutions. MSU Denver’s portion would amount to $1.56 million, which combined with the state budget amounts to an estimated $3,930 in state funding per full-time-equivalent student at MSU Denver. The University’s state funding per FTE student remains the lowest in Colorado and is $500 less than the next-lowest-funded university.

The University also secured $300,000 annually for five years for its cybersecurity program thanks to creative and timely involvement in Senate Bill 86, which directed state agencies to protect state records from cyberattacks. President Janine Davidson testified to advocate for investment in cybersecurity program development in higher education, and 10 percent of the total $1.5 million allocation will be set aside for student scholarships.

Infographic highlighting different bills noted in story textRoadrunners running ahead

MSU Denver played a leading role in initiating five bills expected to be signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Elizabeth Hinde, dean of the School of Education, was instrumental in the passage of three bills.

  • House Bill 1189 creates a $600,000 grant program in the Department of Education to help expand best practices and strategies of effective teacher-residency programs in Colorado, such as the one at MSU Denver.
  • House Bill 1332 allocates $2 million for grants to educator-preparation programs to help address the teacher shortage in Colorado.
  • Senate Bill 229 creates a streamlined criminal-history record-check process for students in educator-preparation programs so that the state maintains the information and students don’t bear the financial and time burdens of going through separate background checks for every school district they could work in.

Gregory Clifton, chair of the Accounting Department, worked diligently on the passage of House Bill 1252, Unlawful Sale of Academic Assignments, which makes it a civil offense for companies to sell assignments and test answers. Clifton met with legislators, testified in the House and Senate, and recruited students to testify in support of the bill.

Chemistry professor Emily Ragan chaired a group that promoted House Bill 1331, which allocates $660,000 and one staff member to oversee the Colorado Open Educational Resources Council.

Hinde and Clifton were each honored Tuesday with the first-ever MSU Denver Champion Advocate Awards for their legislative contributions.

“The purpose of the award is to recognize and honor outstanding advocates that demonstrate their unwavering commitment to the priorities of the University,” said Alejandra Perez, government-relations manager. “We want to start this tradition because we really value and honor the time and the commitment that our MSU Denver Champions are investing.”

To stay up-to-date on the University’s legislative priorities and engagement opportunities all year long, become an MSU Denver Champion by visiting

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