Free tuition for Colorado students next school year

12 November 2019

Douglas Androsiglio

[email protected]

Starting next fall semester, both Colorado College and Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) will be offering free tuition for eligible in-state students entering the 2020 class.

Colorado College will be launching their “Colorado Pledge” which is a pilot program designed to attract students who would not otherwise apply to college or be able to afford an education. This program also covers students’ tuition through all four years of their college career if they continue to be eligible.

The Colorado Pledge program puts applicants into three different brackets based on income;

students coming from an annual income of $60k or less per year will not need parental assistance for tuition, room or board.

Students coming from families with an income between $60k and $125k per year will require parental assistance for room and board but not for tuition.

Students coming from families with an adjusted gross income between $125k and $200k will require parental contribution that is similar to the contribution necessary at state universities. Colorado College will no longer take into consideration the home equity of the student’s primary home.

The motivations for starting this initiative include increasing the number of Colorado residents enrolled in Colorado College and diversifying the socio-economic landscape of their student population.

“Currently,” according to the release on their website announcing the Colorado Pledge, “15 percent of their student body (is) from Colorado.”

The program is being funded by Colorado College’s Building on Originality campaign, a “$435 million fundraising initiative,” according to the release, “that includes a $100 million effort to secure funds for financial aid, the college is raising $20 million specifically to support the Colorado Pledge.”

Colorado College is not the only local institution promising to break down the economic barriers to higher education. PPCC will also be offering free tuition next fall semester.

In collaboration with the Dakota Foundation and the Legacy Institute, all Harrison School District Two (D-2) high school students graduating high school in 2020 will be given the opportunity to attend PPCC without paying tuition.

The Dakota Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides grants and program-related investments, will provide free tuition and academic coaching to all eligible students through their Dakota Promise Scholarship.

A Gazette article covering the scholarship cites that Harrison D-2 was selected because “more than three-fourths of Harrison’s 11,700 students are from low-income families and three-fourths identify as minorities.”

The article goes on to state, “Academic support coaches will also be assigned to every student. They will help incoming students navigate college life by teaching them about transportation, financial literacy, and academic success.”

To qualify for the scholarship, students must maintain a 2.5 GPA, enroll at PPCC within a year of graduating from a D-2 high school, complete at least 24 credit hours for an entire school year and fill out financial aid paperwork.

The scholarship will pay second to Pell funding, meaning it will pay the difference between grants, tuition and fees.

PPCC’s president, Lance Bolton, states on their website, “The idea behind this scholarship is to create new on-ramps, new ways for young people in some of our most underserved areas to reach their dreams. We’re tremendously grateful to the Dakota Foundation for sharing this vision with us, and if we can find more corporate support, we’d love to expand this to the entire Pikes Peak region.”

Will there be a “Clyde’s Promise” for students enrolling next school year? As of writing this, there are no announcements or public plans being made to offer a similar promise to Colorado’s high school graduates or college hopefuls.