Last year, Colorado State University tried to get a last-minute tuition increase as the Senate considered the state budget. It failed, opponents said, largely thanks to CSU student lobbyist Luke Ragland, who grew up in Dolores. He argued the increase would be too much for students and their families.
This year, Ritter and the CCHE want every school singing the same tune. Every Colorado school is underfunded, they say, compared to similar schools around the country. Colorado's higher-education budget would have to increase $832 million - or almost 25 percent - to catch up to the national average, according to a study by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.
Ritter's long-term goal is to close the gap, but it won't happen this year because colleges have to compete with Medicaid, prisons and other programs for state dollars.
"We face realities that make it difficult to get there quickly," Ritter said.