CU Advocates to learn inside story of CU budget

Brian Burnett, vice chancellor, Administration and Finance at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Brian Burnett, vice chancellor, Administration and Finance at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Brian Burnett, vice chancellor, Administration and Finance at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, likes to quiz audiences unfamiliar with the CU budget about the level of state support they believe the university receives.

The answers – often in the 30 to 50 percent range – usually draw a wishful smile before the explanation begins.

“Perceptions and reality haven’t kept up,” Burnett said recently. “We have to do a better job of explaining to the public how the university is funded and the changing role of who pays for the cost of post-secondary education in our state.”

Burnett and Todd Saliman, vice president and chief financial officer for the CU system, will explain the CU budget to a group of university alumni and friends beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday in University Center 116. The event is open to faculty and staff.

Recently, Burnett shared the results of his doctoral dissertation tracing the history of state funding for higher education in Colorado with a reporter from The Wall Street Journal. The reporter used the data to tell the story of CU’s funding and the shift from 1985, when 37 percent of the university’s budget came from the state of Colorado, to 5 percent this year. In 1970, Colorado was sixth in the nation for funding of higher education. In 2012, Colorado ranked 48 of 50 states in per capita state higher education funding.

Sharing the message about CU’s budget, and encouraging community leaders to share it with elected officials, is a goal of the CU Advocates program, the sponsor of the Wednesday event. Saliman is expected to provide insight on Colorado’s and CU’s fiscal forecast as well as funding trends for public higher education. Both Saliman and Burnett will share how CU spends its money and efforts to keep the university running efficiently and remain affordable for students.

For more information about the CU Advocates, visit http://www.cu.edu/cuadvocates. To attend the event, contact Michele McKinney, Office of the President, 303-860-5622 or michele.mckinney@cu.edu. Online registration is available at http://www.cusys.edu/cuadvocates/2013_02-27_uccs-funding-in-focus.html

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