Colorado State University’s responsibility to help people across the state with family, environmental, health, social, agricultural and forestry issues will be significantly impacted by state government cuts to the higher education budget. The university has developed a strategy that allows Coloradoans to help identify areas of importance to them while the university makes budgeting decisions.
The cuts will specifically impact the university’s outreach programs which include Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension and Colorado State University Agricultural Experiment Station. Each of these agencies’ budgets will be cut by 15 percent to 20 percent by mid-summer in 2004. These agencies have made cuts additional to this percentage in the current fiscal year.
These agencies will be seeking input from communities and constituent groups over the next several weeks to identify priority programs and projects in regions across the state before determining how budget reductions will be implemented. The budget reductions are planned for the university’s next fiscal year, which starts on July 1. The reductions are permanent.
Colorado State University previously reduced about 15 percent of its overall budget because of state budget shortfalls, and university officials are anticipating overall cumulative reductions of 26.7 percent including cuts to the fiscal year that begins in July. The university faces more drastic cuts during the next fiscal year due to state budget projections that show a continued shortfall in state of Colorado revenues.
The university’s outreach agencies are reducing their budgets along with across-the-board budget reductions within the university; however, these agencies do not have the capacity to offset general fund reductions with tuition increases.
All program and research eliminations will be based on university strategic priorities for outreach programs, which are identified in part with the assistance of communities and constituent groups.
Colorado State Cooperative Extension provides educational programs within communities across the state through a network of experts in offices in 57 counties and faculty members on campus. These programs include health, nutrition and personal financial education; educational and developmental programs for youth including 4-H and after-school activities; education for agricultural businesses and related industries including farmers and ranchers; natural resource conservation education; family and community enrichment programs such as parenting courses, anger management techniques, and facilitation to help communities address controversial issues; horticulture and landscaping educational programs including Master Gardeners; and information resources for current issues such as drought, West Nile Virus, obesity, diabetes and chronic wasting disease.
Colorado State University’s Agricultural Experiment Station conducts cutting-edge research that is devoted to profitable, environmentally responsible and socially acceptable agriculture. Research is conducted both within Colorado communities at nine research centers and on campus in Fort Collins. The agency focuses on five areas: plant and animal improvement and new agricultural products; systems for producing, processing and marketing agricultural products; safe and effective pest management; food safety and nutrition; agricultural and environmental quality; and rural and community development. Examples of research include areas such natural resources management, water use and quality, crop development, and environmentally-friendly insect and weed control.
The Colorado State Forest Service is an agency of Colorado State University. The agency manages forest lands in Colorado, including managing disease and pest outbreaks; conducts natural resources and forestry community education; and is primarily responsible for coordinating strategies, equipment and crews that fight forest fires within the state.