Colorado Second Chance Scholarship Program

Please Note: The Second Chance Scholarship Program was defunded in 2020 due to budgetary constraints brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic. The program is not currently accepting applications.

About the Scholarship

The Second Chance Scholarship program seeks to award scholarships for the pursuit of a postsecondary credential leading to gainful employment to youth previously committed to the Division of Youth Services in the Colorado Department of Human Services. Individuals are eligible for a scholarship of up to $10,000 annually toward the cost of postsecondary education, depending on program cost and individual need. The deadline for application package submittal is April 15, 2020.

This scholarship is renewable if the terms and conditions of an Individualized Support Plan are met.


To qualify, students need to meet the eligibility criteria. Students must:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.
  2. Be a Colorado resident, including through Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow (ASSET) eligible students.
  3. Be able to verify commitment to the Division of Youth Services. 
  4. Be released from the Division of Youth Services in the Department of Human Services within the past five years at the time of application. *
  5. Demonstrate financial need, based on resources available to the applicant. *
  6. Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a student at an institution that offers postsecondary credentials. Qualifying postsecondary credentials may be offered by a public or private postsecondary institution located in and authorized to operate in the state of Colorado by the Colorado Department of Higher Education, which include public institutions, private institutions and occupational schools. Programs may be online if they are offered by a Colorado institution meeting this description. *

    View this Directory of Postsecondary Institutions for a list of institutions approved to operate in Colorado. View this Directory of Postsecondary Institutions for a list of institutions approved to operate in Colorado. Please check the list of Private Occupational Schools for approved career/technical certificate and online programs on that page.


* Students who do not meet these eligibility requirements and/or are interested in a credential not covered by the definition above should contact or (303) 974-2499 before applying.

Application Process

First-time credential seekers should first find a school/program that matches their educational and career goals. Next, they should apply and be accepted to the school of their choice. A student must be admitted in order to receive the scholarship and submit the acceptance letter from the school.

Continuing credential seekers already enrolled in a school/program must provide a college transcript to prove enrollment status.

Application Instructions

  1. Identify three people who will write recommendation letters (see below) that speak to the capabilities, level of motivation, educational goals and career plans of the applicant.
  2. Complete the scholarship application, including personal statements and financial need demonstration form.
  3. Interview with the scholarship selection committee if invited.


Submit or upload the application package complete with the financial need demonstration form, three personal statements, three letters of recommendation and all required and optional documents no later than April 15, 2020. Optional supplemental documents strengthen an application. The application package may also be mailed to:

Attention to: Second Chance Scholarship Program
Colorado Department of Higher Education
1600 Broadway, Suite 2200
Denver, CO 80202

The committee will notify the awardees of their scholarships and the award amount no later than May 31, 2020. Scholarship money will be disbursed DIRECTLY to the applicant’s postsecondary educational institution no later than June 30, 2020.

Once awarded, the applicant will develop individual education and career goals and an Individualized Support Plan with the Second Chance Scholarship program coordinator.

Eligible Expenses the Second Chance Scholarship May Support

Tuition and Fees
Textbooks & General School Supplies (ex. notebooks, pens, backpack, & etc.)
Room & Board
Transportation (bus passes or parking)
Licensing & Certification Testing Fees (ex. CNA licensure exam fees, MA certification exam fee, & etc.)
Program-specific school supplies (ex. Welding tools, scrubs, calculators, & etc.)
Other school-related financial needs as necessary

Financial Need Demonstration Form

Please fill out ONE financial need form, depending on the type of institution you are enrolled in.

For those accepted to short-term certificate or bootcamp programs less than one year, please complete this form.

Programs Less Than 1-Year

For those accepted to a degree-program such as a two- or four-year college or university, please complete this form.

1-Year or Longer Degree Programs

Personal Statements

Answer the three questions below in your own words. Each question with your answer should be on a separate page. Put the question at the top of the page with your answer below. You can use up to one page for each question and answer.

  1. How has the experience of being committed to DYS changed you?
  2. What are your career goals/plans and how do they relate to the credential you seek to complete with the Second Chance Scholarship?
  3. Please choose one of the questions below to answer:
    1. Explain what kind of support you will need to be successful in pursuit of a postsecondary credential and why.
    2. Discuss your strengths and unique traits and describe how they will help you in the future.
    3. Tell us one story about yourself that reveals your personality or attitude toward life.


Recommendation Letters

Applicants should submit or upload three letters of recommendation from someone that can speak specifically to their capabilities, level of motivation, educational goals and career plans. These recommendation letters could come from a former or current employer, colleague, mentor, teacher, someone who volunteers with you, landlord, case manager, parole office/client manager, client, clergy member, neighbor, friend or family member. Only ONE of the three recommendation letters may be from a friend or family member.

Recommenders must include the applicant’s name and submit the letter directly to no later than April 15, 2020. The letter can also be mailed to:

Attention to: Second Chance Scholarship Program
Colorado Department of Higher Education
1600 Broadway, Suite 2200
Denver, CO 80202

If you have questions about the application, applicant eligibility, or type of eligible postsecondary institution, please email the program coordinator of the Second Chance Scholarship at or call (303) 974-2499.


Second Chance Scholarship ONLINE Application


Second Chance Scholarship PAPER Application