State bill could shorten in-state tuition requirements 

     A bill moving through the Colorado legislature would lower the residency requirement for in-state tuition.   

     House Bill 1155 states that to qualify for in-state tuition, students must have either “graduated from a Colorado high school or [been] physically present in Colorado for at least one year immediately preceding the date the student successfully completed a high school equivalency examination in Colorado.” 

     It also requires that students have “been physically present for at least 12 consecutive months” before enrollment. The previous wording required that students “resided” in the state for at least three years to qualify for in-state tuition. 

     Furthermore, the bill “repeals the requirement to be admitted to college within 12 months of graduation,” which means that students “who [do] not have lawful immigration status and graduated or successfully completed the equivalency agreement prior to Sept. 1, 2013” no longer need an exception to the previous in-state tuition rules. 

     ﷟HYPERLINK “”The Gazette reportedThe article also states that college enrollment has dropped in Colorado since the onset of the pandemic, “falling by 5.2% from 2019 to 2020 alone,” but that according to state officials, the bill would “would increase the number of students enrolled in higher education.” that college enrollment has dropped in Colorado since the onset of the pandemic, “falling by 5.2% from 2019 to 2020 alone,” but according to state officials, the bill “would increase the number of students enrolled in higher education.” 

     Mathew Cox, UCCS senior executive director for enrollment management, believes that the bill is “positive for students and [Colorado] institutions alike.” 

     “This bill could enable additional students who graduate from a CO high school to qualify for resident tuition rates after just one year of high school instead of … three years of high school attendance prior to graduating,” he wrote via e-mail. 

     However, Cox said he does not expect to see a significant impact on UCCS enrollment because the bill would mostly affect a small group of students. 

     “This bill, while positive, would likely impact a nominal number of students interested in UCCS who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to qualify under current law,” he said. 

     Cox explained that under current law, students whose parents have been Colorado residents for at least 12 months before the student enrolls at a university, as well as students serving active duty in the military, can qualify for in-state tuition.  

     The LegiScan bill profile says that HB22-1155 was originally introduced on Feb. 4 and has now passed from the senate committee on education to the senate committee of the whole.  

     The National Association of Social Workers explains that once the bill has passed through the senate, it will go on to the governor to be signed into law.  

     The bill was amended in the Colorado House of Representatives on April 11 to clarify that this only applies to students for the sake of tuition and will not necessarily count toward any other definition of residency.  

     Cox thinks that the likelihood of the bill passing is “high, since there doesn’t seem to be much risk or downside associated with it.” 

     He also clarified that until the final bill is released, it will be difficult to say whether there will be any changes to enrollment for current students.  

     The Gazette reported that according to current state estimates, “more than 200 additional students would be eligible for in-state tuition each year under the bill.” One of the bill’s sponsors, Democratic representative Julie McCluskie, said that the bill “is really about access to higher education” and “a bright and promising future.” 

     LegiScan lists the bill as partisan, with 32 Democratic sponsors and one Republican sponsor. According to the Gazette, it passed through the house education committee with the five democratic members voting for it and the three republican members voting against.  

     Cox recommended that students who want to impact the outcome of the bill “can articulate their support or concerns by communicating with their local state representatives.” 

The in-state tuition for Colorado may be passed to shorten the requirements. Photo by Meghan Germain.