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A legislative recap

Despite a shortened session, state legislators passed many MSU Denver-supported bills.

By Michele McKinney

July 16, 2020

Capitol building with flags.The Colorado General Assembly adjourned June 15, after 86 working days and a 72-day recess due to COVID-19. Many of the bills Metropolitan State University of Denver actively supported passed despite the shortened session. Here’s a recap:

State Budget (long bill)

Higher education took an overall decrease of $500.8 million compared with last year’s appropriation, much of this coming from a 58% decrease in the appropriation for each of the institutions. $5 million in merit-based aid was eliminated, and other programs supporting cybersecurity, open educational resources and scholarships saw significant reductions. However, $450 million was put into the higher-education budget through the governor’s executive order allocating CARES Act dollars, resulting in a net decrease of $50.8 million, or a 5% reduction, for higher ed.

Impact to MSU Denver and students

  • MSU Denver had a $36.9 million budget cut.
  • With the governor’s CARES Act allocation, the net cut is $3.2 million, or about 5% of the University’s budget.
  • MSU Denver is also working to address $14 million in unexpected expenses and losses related to COVID-19.
  • The University continues to work with the legislature and the governor’s Budget Office to address the issue of MSU Denver receiving the lowest amount of state funding per student; this historical inequity severely impacts our ability to support our underserved students.

No tuition increase and several campus fees waived

The University will not increase the cost of tuition for resident and nonresident undergraduate students for the fall semester. Additionally, the board agreed to waive several campus fees for fall.

“We simply cannot in good conscience raise tuition on our undergraduates given the challenges they’ve faced over the past two months.” – MSU Denver President Janine Davidson, Ph.D.

Higher-ed-related bills


  • HB20-1002 College Credit for Work Experience
  • HB20-1275 In-state Tuition at Community College for Military Dependents
  • HB20-1366 Higher Education Funding Allocation Model
  • HB20-1407 College Admission Use of National Test Scores
  • SB20-006 Amend Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative
  • SB20-095 Middle School Students Concurrent Enrollment Information
  • SB20-123 Compensation and Representation of Student Athletes


  • SB20-004 Postsecondary Education Loan Repayment Assistance
  • SB20-031 Improve Student Success Innovation Pilot
  • SB20-143 Funding Higher Education Student Transition Programs
  • HB20-1110 Higher Education Student Emergency Assistance Grants

Your vote matters: June 30 primary election and the November general election

  • Each House of Representatives seat and half of the Senate seats are up for election this November.
  • Many state legislators are facing reelection. Find your elected officials
  • The June 30 primary election determined which party candidates will be placed on the November ballot. See election results.
  • Democrats maintain a wide majority in the State House, which is unlikely to change in 2021.
  • The margin in the State Senate is much tighter, and competitive Senate seats will be closely watched.
  • The MSU Denver Rock the Vote website has lots of need-to-know information on voting.

The University is grateful for your engagement as an MSU Denver Champion. We will certainly have more challenges for next fiscal year, so your continued involvement is increasingly critical to our advocacy success. Thank you, and please be safe and take care of yourself and others.

Thanks to the Capstone Group for much of the content for this legislative recap and its tireless lobbying on behalf of MSU Denver.

Topics: Colorado, Denver, Legislation, MSU Denver Champions

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