Monday, May 21, 2007

Court OK's Exclusion of Tuition Grants For Pervasively Sectarian Colleges

A Colorado federal district court on Friday upheld Colorado's exclusion of "pervasively sectarian institutions" from its tuition assistance programs for low-income students attending colleges and universities in the state. In Colorado Christian University v. Baker, (D CO, May, 18, 2007), the court rejected both free exercise and establishment clause attacks on the law. Relying largely on the Supreme Court's Locke v. Davey decision, the court applied a "rational basis" test to the free exercise claim. It found that the statutory exclusion furthers implementation of the prohibition in Art. IX, Sec. 7 of Colorado's state constitution barring state aid to any college or university controlled by any sectarian denomination. A press release by the University in response to the decision said that it believed that the decision would be overruled by the 10th Circuit.