The State Land Board earns money for Colorado public schools by leasing trust land and minerals. In fact, we oversee nine trusts on behalf of trust beneficiaries. By far the largest is the School Trust, which reflects 99 percent of the total assets our agency manages.
The School Trust supports all public schools in the state. There are 175+ school districts in our state serving more than 880,000 students. We are incredibly proud to have generated $2.5 billion for public schools (2008-2023).
We are the primary funding source for the Department of Education's Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program that provides capital construction grants for schools. More than 525 schools in Colorado have received a BEST grant. Learn more about BEST.
All beneficiary groups
The remaining one percent of our revenue supports eight other beneficiary groups:
- Colorado State University (CSU)
- Government buildings (via the Department of Personnel Administration)
- Fort Lewis College
- Penitentiaries (via the Department of Corrections - DOC)
- State parks (via Colorado Parks and Wildlife)
- University of Colorado
Fort Lewis College and the DOC hold Beneficiary Use Agreements so that they can self-manage the day-to-day operations on their land parcels.
How we earn money
Our agency oversees 2.8 million acres of trust land and four million acres of mineral estate. We lease these assets for assorted uses. The rent we collect flows to beneficiaries. Because trust land is leased for specific uses, the land is generally not publicly accessible.
FY21-22 gross lease revenue for trust beneficiaries
|TRUST||BENEFICIARY||FY21-22 REVENUES||% OF TOTAL|
|School Trust||Common schools||$210,935,818||99.21%|
|Colorado State University (CSU) Trust||CSU||$742,544||0.35%|
|Parks Trust||Colorado Parks and Wildlife||$720,053||0.34%|
|University of Colorado (CU) Trust||CU||$68,301||0.03%|
|Saline Trust||State parks||$38,099||0.02%|
|Public Buildings Trust||Public buildings||$35,446||0.02%|
|Penitentiary Trust||Colorado Department of Corrections||$22,042||0.01%|
|Hesperus Trust||Fort Lewis College||$0||0.00%|
Trust land access for K-12 programs
In addition to being leased to earn money for public schools, trust land is also accessible at no cost for school-led K-12 activities. We welcome teachers and their students to our properties so long as access and scheduling arrangements are approved in advance. Make an appointment today!
The concept of reserving land to be held in trust and used for public beneficiaries dates to the founding of our country. America's founding fathers believed that funding public institutions to support citizens would help ensure a stable democracy. When the territory of Colorado joined the Union in 1876, our state received four million acres of land -- now called trust land -- to be held in trust. Using the land for the benefit of public schools was a condition of statehood and our mission is described in the state's Constitution. Read more about our history.