Students hold funeral for higher education

5:52 PM, Feb 17, 2010   |    comments
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"We are gathered here today to mourn the death of something that is incredibly close to us all - our higher education," said Hailee Koehler, director of legislative affairs for the University of Colorado's student government.

Koehler says she is already in debt more than $50,000 in college costs and it will likely get worse. Colorado already ranks at the bottom, nationally, in funding higher education. The slow economy is forcing lawmakers to consider cutting funding even further.

"Colleges are at risk of being closed. Faculty and staff are at-risk of losing their jobs," Koehler said. "Programs here at CU are at-risk of being cut and tuition is likely to go up."

Students are trying to rally together for a massive protest on March 3. Thousands of students are expected to march from the Auraria Campus in Denver to the State Capitol.

Koehler says students should urge legislators to overturn the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR, because it is preventing the state from raising taxes enough to prevent the budget shortfalls.

Opponents say that will open the door to high tax rates in Colorado affecting low income families and senior citizens on fixed incomes.

Students say if tuition goes up, it will shut the door on students coming from families who struggle financially.

"If we raise it another hundred dollars in tuition, I'm going to have to get a third job," said Negou Seid, a sophomore at CU. "This is the reality for most students on this campus."

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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