In Colorado, Public Colleges Peer Over a $600-Million Stimulus 'Cliff'

The federal stabilization fund, which is about to run out, accounted for more than 25 percent of the state's money for higher education

Colorado Public Colleges Peer Over the Stimulus 'Cliff' 1

Benjamin Rasmussen for The Chronicle

Metropolitan State College of Denver used stimulus money to entice professors to do special projects. Nancy Shanks, chair of health professions, updated a health-management textbook and suggested improvements in online courses.

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close Colorado Public Colleges Peer Over the Stimulus 'Cliff' 1

Benjamin Rasmussen for The Chronicle

Metropolitan State College of Denver used stimulus money to entice professors to do special projects. Nancy Shanks, chair of health professions, updated a health-management textbook and suggested improvements in online courses.

There are plenty of precarious cliffs in Colorado. But public colleges in the Rocky Mountain State are peering over the edge of a different kind of precipice this year, as the federal dollars that have propped up the state's higher-education budget for two years fall away.

Since early 2009, Colorado has received nearly $622-million, or more than a quarter of its money for higher education, from the federal State Fiscal Stabilization Fund. Colorado has been the state most reliant on