CU grapples with growth as politicians and administrators contend with changes in tuition and demographics

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Tracey Moore plays fetch with her pups Papi, Mo and Riggs at the proposed site of CU Boulder South. Photo courtesy of Paul Aiken, Daily Camera staff photographer.

Boulder residents voiced anger, frustration and opposition to CU Boulder’s planned extension into a 300-acre piece of land known as CU Boulder South at an open house on Monday. The proposed site is located south of Table Mesa Drive and west of U.S. 36. If retention rates continue to soar, the university will have to figure out how to keep growing. Officials claim that CU’s expansion wouldn’t entail large-scale development, and that construction is still years away. But neighbors worry that any development could have ecological consequences and affect their opportunities for recreation.

While Boulder struggles with the future of its campus, politicians are agonizing over the future of higher education. Hillary Clinton unveiled her new education plan in July, highlighting her vision of a debt-free future. The New York Times reports that educators and private institutions have some hesitation. Her plan is too vague, some say, while educators at private colleges fear that her proposed support for public universities would leave private institutions in the dust. Even sympathetic educators emphasize the political barriers she’d face and the need to interact with policy at the state level.

No matter who wins in November, the student bodies of colleges across the country look different than ever before. More than half of college students are “non-traditional,” a category that designates students who come to college later in life, work, and/or have children. NPR reports that these students, driven by the economic turmoil of a changing economy and the Great Recession, present new barriers to university policies and practices across the country.

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