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Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Higher Education Announce Waived Higher Education Application Fees Oct.17-19

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The sixth annual Colorado Free Application Day campaign returns as a three-day-long event and encourages Colorado residents to continue their education beyond high school

DENVER- Today, Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) announced the sixth annual Colorado Free Application Days campaign to inspire more Coloradans to continue their education. From Tuesday, Oct. 17 through Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, all 32 public colleges and universities in Colorado and several private institutions will waive their application fees, making it free for anyone to submit an application. By waiving application fees—a common barrier to higher education—Colorado Free Application Days aims to improve access to further education and training, which is becoming increasingly critical in the state’s rapidly changing economy.

“Colorado Free Application Days is a great way for people considering applying to one of the 32 public universities to begin the process at no cost. I am committed to making higher education more accessible, and by removing barriers like application fees, we are saving people money and helping Coloradans achieve their goals," said Governor Polis. 

This is the third year the state has extended the program from one day to three days due to previous success and interest. During last year’s campaign, students turned in nearly 64,000 applications with 45 percent coming from students of color and over a third from first-generation students. Coloradans can review admission applications and fee waiver information for each college and university participating ahead of next week to prepare required materials. Between Oct. 17-19, people can apply to as many of the listed participating institutions as they like. 

The days cap off Colorado Applies Month, a five-week, statewide campaign that encourages high school juniors and seniors – and adults – to select an education or training option that’s best for them and apply to that program. The statewide push is designed to increase Colorado’s college-going and FAFSA and CASFA completion rates. The campaign aims to support low-income and first-generation students and to help keep Colorado students in state.  


“I’ve always been a firm believer of success simply being opportunity meets preparation, and Colorado Applies Month is just that. CAM allows students to prepare for their future and begin making their dreams possible,” said Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of CDHE. “Increasing FAFSA and CASFA completion is paramount and Colorado Free Application Days is one of our most significant campaigns. “ 

In response to changing workforce demands, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education set a strategic goal to increase the number of Coloradans benefiting from valuable career skills, obtained while in high school or via postsecondary education, that –at a minimum– enable additional lifetime earnings greater than the cost of attendance, in its statewide plan for higher education, Building Skills for an Evolving Economy. Increasing postsecondary enrollment and reducing equity gaps—the racial disparities in educational attainment—are priority strategies to improve access and reduce costs for Coloradans.  


For more information and to view Gov. Polis’ announcement in English and Spanish, visit the Colorado Free Application Day and Colorado Applies Month webpages.