The preceding three goals in this master plan are an economic necessity and must be a state priority. The stakes are high. We must increase attainment, erase attainment gaps and improve student success if Coloradans want to maintain a strong quality of life, meet workforce demands and continue to have a vibrant economy.
But these goals are only achievable with increased public investment. Colorado must invest in this critical public good. Declining affordability will continue to constrain enrollment and keep us from reaching our attainment goal. Moreover, the students we must focus on to increase attainment— whether they are first-generation, lowincome, minority, adult or from other underserved populations—are those most likely to come from backgrounds where they lack traditional support systems and thus require increased services to succeed.
History has shown us that increased investment will yield powerful dividends. It is no coincidence that the U.S. economy grew exponentially following the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 that greatly expanded access to higher education for all Americans, and again after the post-war bills further expanded education opportunities. And yet in the face of this historical evidence, the state has consistently disinvested in higher education over the past 15 years.