Posted 5/10/2004 9:20 PM Updated 5/11/2004 1:31 PM
Colorado to create college voucher plan
DENVER (AP) — Gov. Bill Owens signed Colorado's first-in-the-nation college voucher plan into law Monday, calling it a landmark step that will empower thousands of students.
Owens said the vouchers send a message to high schoolers that college is not out of reach and that state money — up to $2,400 per voucher — is available to help.
"Quality education isn't about institutions, it's about the future of our students," he said. "It's a new day for higher-education funding in America, and I'm proud to say that it's dawning in Colorado."
Stipends will be available to all Colorado undergraduate students who qualify for in-state tuition.
Every year, the Legislature would set the value of the stipend based on the state budget. For next fall, the amount is set at $2,400 for students attending a public institution in Colorado, and $1,200 for low-income students attending three private institutions: Regis University, which is a Catholic institution, the University of Denver and Colorado College.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says no other state has attempted a voucher program on such a scale.
But students might not get the full $2,400 this year because of budget problems, state lawmakers have said. They said the amount will have to be cut to $1,600 unless voters ease fiscal restraints embedded in the state constitution or agree to use millions of dollars Colorado gets from the national settlement with the tobacco industry.
Opponents of the voucher program complained that giving state funds to private colleges would draw money away from state institutions and could be challenged in court. Owens and others, however, say vouchers would encourage more students to go to college.
Ryan McMaken, director of the Colorado Student Association, which represents about 60,000 college students, said the plan does not put more money into higher education. But he said it could make it harder to cut funding.
This article also appeared on CNN.com:
Nation's first college voucher program OK'd
Monday, May 10, 2004 Posted: 2:28 PM EDT (1828 GMT)
DENVER, Colorado (AP) -- Gov. Bill Owens signed Colorado's first-in-the-nation college voucher plan into law Monday, calling it a landmark step that will empower thousands of students...