Fund My Future Grant

With the $3.8 billion of state aid provided by the American Rescue Plan Act, the Governor and Colorado legislature have allocated approximately $200 million towards workforce development and education. Through HB21-1330 the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) received $1.5 million to assist local education providers in implementing strategies to increase the number of students who complete a student aid application (FAFSA/CASFA) before graduating high school.

Student aid applications determine a student’s eligibility to receive financial aid in higher education, because of this, it is a critical tool to help students pay for college. However, Colorado ranks 47th in the nation for FAFSA completion amongst high school seniors with completion during 2020-2021 at 46%, six percentage points below prior-year rates for the state, and six percentage points below the national average of 52.3%. The low participation rate means that our students leave more than $30 million in federal grant dollars “on the table” annually. To support addressing this issue the Colorado legislature allocated $1.5 million to the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative to aid local education providers in implementing strategies to increase the number of students who complete a student aid application (FAFSA/CASFA) before graduating high school.

COSI is now seeking proposals from local education providers interested in receiving funds to help implement programming and student services with the goal of having all high school seniors complete an application for student aid before graduation

Program Overview

Provider Eligibility Requirements:

  • The fiscal agent must be a Local Education Provider, defined as one of the following:
    • School district
    • Charter school
    • Board of cooperative services that operates as a high school
  • The high school(s) of focus must have a free and reduced lunch (FRL) percentage of 60% or more
    • Entire school districts do not have to meet this requirement, but the individual participating schools must meet the 60% or more free and reduced lunch requirement to participate. This requirement was put in place to fulfill the ARPA COVID impact requirement.

Interested partners:

  • IHEs and nonprofits can apply as a partner to the applicant. The education provider (i.e., a school district or charter school) must apply for the funds. However, they should highlight any partnerships they have with local IHEs and/or non-profits to support their application.
  • Local Education Providers are held accountable for the FAFSA/CASFA requirements while partner organizations can implement the programming.
  • Partner organizations should submit a Letter of Support to the Local Education Provider to include in their application.

Program Options

Option 1: Supplemental Funding

Application Completion Strategies

Option 2: Pre-Collegiate Program

College-Going Support

Grant term

  • Two or four years
  • 2022-2026
  • Four years
  • 2022-2026

Award amount

Up to $50,000 per year to support multiple high schools in the school district

Up to $75,000 per year to support one or more high schools in the school district

Use of funds

  • Programming costs
  • Travel expenses for mandatory COSI events
  • The remaining funds must comply with budget guidance

  • Salary/benefits or hourly employees who provide on-site (at the high school) pre-collegiate support services
  • Programming costs
  • Travel expenses for mandatory COSI events
  • The remaining funds must comply with budget guidance

Intended applicant

  • Providers interested in increasing opportunities and/or creating new initiatives focused on increasing FAFSA/CASFA completion rates.
  • Providers in this category typically have pre-collegiate/college-going programming in place, and the funds will be used to focus and expand FAFSA/CASFA completion.
  • Providers currently have pre-collegiate programming and staff in place and would like to expand support to increase student aid application completion and postsecondary access. 
  • Providers interested in developing a pre-collegiate program focused on providing college-going support to increase student aid application completion and postsecondary access.

Program

This option focuses on programming and provides funds to applicants who already have pre-collegiate programming and staff. The additional funds will support in creating or expanding initiatives and strategies focused on increasing awareness, completing FAFSA/CASFA, and helping students through the verification process.

This option focuses on staff and programming and aligns with the COSI pre-collegiate program model. Applicants will hire staff and develop (or expand) pre-collegiate programming to create initiatives and strategies focused on increasing awareness and completion of FAFSA/CASFA, supporting students through the verification process, providing robust college-going programming, and increasing postsecondary access.

Program goal

Increase the number of students completing a student aid application before graduation.

  • Increase the number of students completing the student aid application before graduation.
  • Increase the number of students enrolling in postsecondary education after high school graduation.
Proposal Elements

All proposals must be submitted by the date(s) indicated in the Timeline section. The proposal consists of the areas outlined below:

  • Intent to Apply: Provide basic information on your organization and the grant option you wish to apply for. 
  • Program Overview
    • Narrative: Answer short narrative questions regarding program development.
    • Graduation Requirement and Waiver: acknowledge the requirement and provide information on how it will be implemented.
    • High School Data: Provide data and information on each participating high school 
    • Statement of Work: Detail goals and outcomes for your program.
    • Grant Request: Review the program options, grant term, and award amounts for support in completing the grant request.
    • Program Budget: Provide specifics on the use of funds. 
  • Letter of Support: Provide any letters of support from program partners. This step is optional but encouraged.
  • Reporting Requirements: Review and acknowledge the COSI reporting requirements. 

View Request for Proposals

Proposal Submission 

COSI encourages applicants to familiarize themselves with the requirements, process, and application process and attend the informational webinars and application support sessions outlined in the Timeline section.

  • Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • Please do not contact individual staff; instead, please review the proposal and attend the informational webinar and application support opportunities for information and questions. See timeline for dates.
This RFP provides an Application Preview to help prepare the application before submitting it.
  • It is encouraged to complete the paper version before submitting it online.
    • Complete the portal registration at any time. Click here for detailed portal registration instructions.
    • If the organization has a SurveyMonkey Apply account, please use that account to apply.

All proposals submitted to the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative and the Colorado Department of Higher Education are public records and should not contain confidential data. CDHE is subject to the Colorado Open Records Act and must release full proposals when requested.

Proposals are accepted via the COSI Portal. 

Apply Now

Request for Proposal and Application Materials

Request for Proposal

Application Materials

Timeline

Please carefully review the timeline as late submissions and incomplete applications will not be accepted. The COSI team will provide an informational webinar and application support sessions to answer questions and support completing the application.  

 

Activity 

Application Period 3

Request for Proposal Release 

                                                  April 21, 2022

Proposals Due 

June 13, 2022 

COSI Board Meeting to review proposals 

July 20, 2022 

Notification of approved proposals/recommendations for revisions  

July 25, 2022 

Fully executed agreement and finalized year one statement of work and program budget 

August 31, 2022 

 
Application Support

The COSI team will provide an informational webinar and application support sessions to answer questions and help complete the application.

Please send questions to cosi.info@dhe.state.co.us, and we will add questions to the FAQ and review questions at each application support session.

Visit the application support link below to access the FAQ document and webinar and session recordings.

Application Support

Informational Webinar & Application Support Sessions 

Activity 

Zoom Details 

Application Support Session 

May 2, 2022, at 3 pm

 

Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 865 9885 5842

Application Support Session 

May 25, 2022, at 3 pm

 

Zoom Link 

Meeting ID: 889 0128 3187