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Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative awards $13.8 million to support Colorado students in pursuing their postsecondary education

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DENVER – April 24, 2024: The Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI), a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education awarded 129 grants, totaling $13,892,755 to support Coloradans pursuing higher education. 

“COSI’s goal to have more Colorado students enroll, persist and complete shines through in the latest allocation of awards—totaling more than $13 million—which helps our students have the access and supports they need to succeed,” said CDHE Executive Director Dr. Angie Paccione. “These innovative programs engage with our local communities to strengthen our Colorado economy while growing our talent.”

Matching Student Scholarships Grant
COSI awarded $6,342,395 in Matching Student Scholarship funds to applicants representing 53 counties and 26 Colorado public institutions of higher education. The Matching Student Scholarship Program provides grant funding for scholarships to non-profit organizations that must match funding at a 1:1 ratio. These awards create more than $12.6 million in scholarship funds that support more than 2,600 students.

For the 2023-2024 application cycle, COSI distributed funds to 53 counties totaling $4,914,922 and 26 institutions of higher education totaling $1,427,383. A full breakdown of awards by organization can be found on the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative program website. 

Many students receiving scholarships are offered wraparound support services through COSI’s Community Partnership Program.

Community Partnership Program – Postsecondary
COSI awarded 17 organizations $4,112,000 to provide students with services including academic advising, one-on-one support, career services, community-building and other support services. The funding extends current programming for another two academic years. View a list of awarded institutions

COSI also awarded $1,783,750 to support 13 organizations providing programs in rural Colorado high schools that offer students college-going support services. Support services include student aid completion support, career and college exploration, academic success and individual support. The funding extends the current program another two academic years ending June 30, 2026, which supports 53 rural high schools. View a list of awards.

Career Launch
COSI’s Career Launch Program is awarding 16 organizations a total of $1,554,610 in funding to provide scholarships to students pursuing credentials connected to Colorado’s Top Jobs. Colorado Top Jobs are defined by the Colorado Talent Pipeline Report as high-demand fields that offer a livable wage. The program requires 1:1 matching funds for a total of more than $3 million in scholarships for Colorado students. Organizations awarded provide students with connections to career services to help them transition into the workforce. Many of those awarded also provide work-based learning opportunities for students such as internships, apprenticeships and connections to industry partners. An estimated 750 students will receive scholarship funding through this program. View a list of awards.

Youth Mentorship Scholarship Program
COSI created a new program called the Youth Mentorship Scholarship Program, which awards scholarship funding to mentorship organizations that provide mentorship services to youth. The scholarship funds will be provided to students serving as mentees to help pay for college by providing tuition support.

A total of $100,000 was awarded to four mentorship organizations each focused on providing mentorship services to different populations. The breakdown of awards are: 

  • College Access Navigators, Inc. for its mentorship program serving BIPOC youth: $25,000
  • Colorado Initiative for Inclusive Higher Education for its mentorship program serving youth who have physical, mental, or developmental disabilities: $25,000
  • Larimer County Partners, Inc. for its mentorship program serving youth who are justice-involved: $25,000
  • University of Colorado Colorado Springs for its mentorship program focused on LGBTQ+: $25,000

COSI students
COSI students must demonstrate financial need, be a Colorado resident (including ASSET students) and be an undergraduate student attending a Colorado public institution of higher education. Those interested in applying for scholarship funding should contact the institution they plan to attend to learn more about COSI-funded programs.

About the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative
The Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative was created with the Colorado Department of Higher Education to increase the attainment of postsecondary credentials and degrees for underserved students in Colorado. The project addresses this challenge in two ways: accessibility and affordability. To increase accessibility, COSI funds programs that will help prepare students for postsecondary education, as well as support them through completion. To increase affordability, COSI provides matching funds for community scholarships.