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Friday Churn: Costs of college

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Every year, the Department of Higher Education prepares what are bureaucratically called “student budget parameters” – estimates of college living expenses.

The projections, required by the federal government, are used by college financial aid officers to help decide financial aid for students.

The 2012-13 parameters were released Thursday to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, and here’s what they look like:

Students living with their parents will need an estimated $754 a month, and students living by themselves off campus will need $1,279 a month. The parameters don’t include a full estimate for students living on campus, because room and board rates vary by campus.

Read the document for more details and explanation of how the estimates are derived.

And if you need more sobering reading, the Department of Higher Education also has released its detailed annual report on the tuition and fees charged by every state college and university. That report covers costs for this school year – expect them to be higher in 2012-13.

Diana Sirko, Colorado Department of Education deputy commissioner, has announced she’s retiring June 30. Sirko, former superintendent in Aspen, joined CDE in mid-2010. She’s been heavily involved in overseeing such reform efforts as implementation of the new educator evaluation law.

The Denver Public Schools Foundation is ranked second in the nation in a study of educational foundations released this week by a Tampa, Fla.-based management and strategy consultancy.

Dewey & Associates studied foundations operating in the nation’s 50 largest school districts, and ranked the top 20, scoring them in eight separate performance categories. The DPS Foundation placed second in the overall rankings, with the Pinellas (Florida) Education Foundation placing first, and the Clark County (Nevada) Public Education Foundation ranked third.

Five of the top 10 foundations in the final rankings are in the state of Florida, and four in the top 20 are in Texas. The study utilized data from the Form 990s, the forms that non-profits use to report their financial information to the IRS.

The study’s analysis used data from the 2009-10 school year, the most recent that data for all foundations was available. The top 20 reflects the collective scoring for all eight performance categories that were considered, with those finishing in the top-20 of the most categories placing the highest in the overall ranking, “emphasizing the importance of being well-rounded,” according to a news release by Dewey & Associates.

The DPS Foundation finished first in two of the study’s eight categories, revenue per student ($93.43), and expense per student, (deducting salaries and benefits to reflect what goes to programs impacting teachers and students), $84.33. The DPS Foundation placed 17th in number of volunteers (87).

In the rankings, the DPS Foundation was third in total revenue for the 2009-10 school year, at just over $7.2 million. According to the DPS Foundation’s recent reporting to Education News Colorado, that figure jumped to slightly more than $9.9 million for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

“We’re honored and, honestly, we know we still have a long way to go to partner with DPS in their relentless pursuit of excellence,” said Foundation president Kristin Colon. “There are too many students, teachers and school leaders dealing with declining resources, and we know, at the DPS Foundation, we simply have to do more. And we hope an increasing number of folks will join us in doing so.”

Colorado continues to rank in the top 10 for scores on Advanced Placement exams, according to a report released this week by the College Board.

The 8th annual AP Report to the Nation says Colorado ranks 8th out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. for the percentage of the class of 2011 scoring a 3 or higher (qualifying score) on AP exams during high school. Further, Colorado has consistently ranked in the top 10 over the last five years, according to a press release from the state Department of Education.

Colorado highlights in the report:

  • The total number of 2011 graduates is 47,987, down from 48,329 from 2010.
  • The number of graduates who scored 3+ on an AP exam in high school also increased from 10,330 in 2010 to 10,692 or 22.3 percent.
  • On College Board’s AP equity and excellence for underserved students measure, Colorado scored at 49.5 percent. Hispanic/Latino students made up 22 percent of the class of 2011 and 10.9 percent of those students were successful AP exam takers scoring at qualifying score of 3 or higher.

Read the national report.

The EdNews’ Churn is a daily roundup of briefs, notes and meetings in the world of Colorado education. To submit an item for consideration in this listing, please email us at

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