News: CO House Proposes COF Bill

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Colorado House Proposes Bill Favoring Equal Funding for Private-School Students

By an 8-5 margin, yesterday the Colorado House Education Committee voted to end discrimination against private-school students in the state's Colorado Opportunity Funding (COF) program. Although not a final victory for these students in their pursuit of equal-opportunity state funding, for the first time ever the imbalance of the situation has been officially recognized.

For years, Colorado college students attending schools within the state have received a modest annual stipend through COF, yet private-school students among them are traditionally awarded exactly one-half the amount of peers at state schools.

Representative Carol Murray's new bill (HB 1168), recommended by the Committee yesterday afternoon, says all Colorado college students should be treated equally in the distribution of those funds.

"This is a basic fairness issue," commented CCU President Bill Armstrong in support of the move. "It's not ideological, not political -- just fair play."

While the bill speaks potentially good news for CCU students, a climb is yet ahead -- students can only participate if they are Pell Grant eligible. Furthermore, the bill may not make it all the way through the legislative process in 2011.

For now, it does have a strong chance of passing in the House in the next few days, setting the stage for future progress. And that's a move in the right direction.