Myself and a bi-partisan group of legislators are working to keep the state from liquidating $29.8 million from the CollegeInvest Early Achievement Scholarship fund. Instead, we believe that cuts from the Early Achievement Scholarship fund should only be a last resort. Not only is it bad policy to cut scholarship money that would help the poorest in our community go on to get a college degree, but it is taking away the scholarship money that they've paid into.
We need to do more--not less--to get low-income students to complete college. Currently, Colorado is ranked 48th in the nation in our ability to get our poorest children to complete a college degree. We can--and most certainly need to--do better. The damage done to our economy by not having an educated workforce is incalculable. Getting these kids to go through college and get professional careers will provide more positive benefit to our economy than the gross economic benefit of a fantastic company like Google. It increases the number of tax-paying citizens, will lead to more business creation, lower rates of crime and reliance on welfare programs and will revitalize our communities.
Short-term budget stopgaps are obviously tough decisions to make. I am keenly aware that the entire state government should learn to do more with less, but education is of particular importance for Colorado's future economic development, its tax revenue and the general welfare of our state.
Like many previous recessions, without many jobs available there are more kids going on to college. However, without crucial help from scholarship funds like the Early Achievers Scholarship Program those who most need our help will truly be left behind as we move towards economic recovery--and it's our entire society that will suffer because of it.