Colorado College sign

Colorado College, north of downtown, is increasing scholarships to in-state students. (Courtesy photo/Rob Kelley)

Beginning next fall, Colorado College will expand its scholarship program for in-state students by increasing qualification to families earning up to $250,000 annually in adjusted gross income.

About one-quarter of this year’s 415 undergraduate students who live in Colorado qualified for the Colorado Pledge program for the 2021-22 academic year, officials said.

They collectively received $4.3 million in tuition, room and board, through waived and discounted charges, depending on household income level.

The private, liberal arts school launched the pilot program in 2019, with the goal of increasing enrollment of low- and middle-income students from Colorado.

The program has three levels of scholarship awards.

Colorado students from families with an adjusted gross income of less than $60,000 pay no tuition, or room and board. 

Those from households earning between $60,000 and $125,000 pay room and board but no tuition.

And the contribution for students from families with an adjusted gross income between $125,000 and $200,000 is the same or less than the cost of attendance at the state’s flagship university, the University of Colorado in Boulder, which has an attendance cost of $32,328 for this school year, said director of financial aid Shannon AmundsonNext year, the threshold will be increased to include families earning up to $250,000 of adjusted gross income.

Tuition and mandatory fees at Colorado College amount to $62,070 for this academic year. Room and board is estimated at $13,668.

“We know that the cost of a private college education can seem very daunting, and we hope the expansion of the Colorado Pledge will provide additional access to outstanding students in our home state,” Mark Hatch, vice president for enrollment, said in a statement.

Colorado College already meets the” full demonstrated financial need of every admitted student,” said Amundson, with more than half of the coming school year's admitted students receiving such assistance. 

The Colorado Pledge goes a step further, making a private education at Colorado College "as affordable, or more affordable for Colorado families than many public universities," she said.

A $20 million fundraising campaign, of which Molly Bodnar, associate vice president for advancement, said $7.3 million has been committed through donations, pledges and estate bequests, is underway to endow the Colorado Pledge program for longevity.

The program seems to be working, Amundson said. In-state enrollment at Colorado College jumped from 13.7% in 2019-20 to 19.7% last school year, statistics show, and the student body is more socio-economically diverse.

The number of federal Pell Grant-eligible students increased from 12% of enrollment in 2019-20 to 14% in 2020-21, Amundson said.

“The percentage of students who qualify for the federal Pell Grant is a well-respected marker in higher education to represent low-income students,” she said.

“We are also working to ensure that students who are not low income but cannot pay the full bill also are represented in our student body. The increase in covered families up to an income of $250,000 represents this goal.”

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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