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Lawmakers reach compromise on CSU Global Campus bill

Expected controversy over a proposed expansion of Colorado State University Global Campus was defused Thursday with what was reported to be a last-minute compromise.

As originally introduced, Senate Bill 14-114 would have allowed CSU Global to enroll students without previous college credits and award four-year bachelor’s degrees. Current law basically limits CSU Global to enrolling students who already have college credits and who want to complete bachelor’s degrees. The program also offers some master’s degrees through its all-online program.

The bill made the state’s community colleges nervous, as they feared such a change would cut into their enrollment of students who earn a year or two of credits before transferring to CSU Global or four-year institutions.

Under a compromise brokered by sponsor Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, CSU Global could expand to new students, but only with guardrails. Under an amendment approved by the Senate Education Committee, CSU Global four-year programs could only be offered to Colorado students aged 23 or older, would have to have moderately selective admissions criteria and would have to gain Colorado Commission on Higher Education approval for future programs. There also would be restrictions on programs that overlapped with community college offerings.

The amendment shifted the community colleges from opposed to “neutral” on the bill, system President Nancy McCallin told the committee.

Senate Ed passed the amended bill 6-1.

CSU Global specializes in business and professional programs and generally doesn’t offer degrees in the liberal arts or sciences.