Why State Lawmakers Are Upset With the CollegeInvest

October 2009

primavera-dianeSince 2005, CollegeInvest, the agency that runs Colorado's college scholarship program, has awarded just 235 of 565 service scholarships for students who volunteer in the community. And only 11 nursing teachers had their loans forgiven, according to a state audit cited by The Associated Press, which reports that CollegeInvest incurred more than $12 million in administrative expenses above and beyond the salaries and benefits it pays for its 37 employees. The agency is also accused of conflicts of interest and giving expensive gifts to financial advisers. In one case, the agency awarded $80 golf clubs to financial advisers in exchange for their e-mail addresses. "I sense that the board is not really doing its job in monitoring how well this program is working," claims state Senator Dave Schultheis, a Colorado Springs Republican and member of the Legislative Audit Committee. Adds committee chairwoman, state Representative Diane Primavera (pictured), a Broomfield Democrat, "It seems like more money has been put into running the organization than getting kids in school." Debra DeMuth, director of the CollegeInvest Scholarship and Loan Forgiveness Programs, defends the agency, saying it wants to reduce regulations and help get more students into programs. State lawmakers have ordered monthly reports on CollegeInvest's activities.