The College Opportunity Fund program provides a stipend for in-state students going to college in Colorado. To receive this funding, a student must create a COF account and must also authorize the use of the stipend at their respective institution. If the student does not create a COF account or authorize the college to invoice COF on their behalf, the student will be responsible for the full amount of tuition, which equals the student’s share of tuition plus the stipend amount.
The goal of the COF program is to bring awareness to Colorado resident students that state funds exist to help finance their college education and improve access with a particular emphasis on higher education/K-12 linkages and strengthening accountability.
To view the entire CCHE COF stipend Policy, click here.
Applying for COF - Student Eligibility
At Public Institutions:
Undergraduate students at participating public institutions may receive a stipend from the College Opportunity Fund if they meet the following requirements:
- Enrolled at a state institution of higher education (see the FAQ page at https://cof.college-assist.org for a list of all participating public colleges);
- Classified by the college as an in-state student for tuition purposes;
- Have applied for COF by completing the on-line application at: https://cof.college-assist.org;
- Have requested payment from COF by completing the COF Authorization step with the college the student is attending;
- Are taking undergraduate or graduate level courses that apply toward the student’s undergraduate degree; and
- Have not exceeded their lifetime credit-hour limitation (145 credit hours) or obtained a baccalaureate degree while receiving COF, which entitles students to stipend payments for an additional 30 undergraduate credit hours.
Undergraduate students at participating private institutions may receive a stipend from the College Opportunity Fund if they meet the following requirements:
- Classification as an in-state student for tuition purposes (CRS 23-18-102 (5)(a)(II)(A);
- Graduated from a Colorado high school or successfully completed a nonpublic home-based educational program (CRS 22-33-104.5). Private institutions may choose to accept the GED test as equivalency for the high school diploma based on the Colorado Commission of Higher Education policy;
- Demonstrate a financial need through the student’s eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant or its successor program. (CRS 23-18-102(5)(a)(II)(C));
- Are taking undergraduate or graduate level courses that apply toward the student’s undergraduate degree;
- Are not pursuing a professional degree in theology; and
- Have not exceeded their lifetime credit-hour limitation (145 credit hours) or obtained a baccalaureate degree while receiving COF, which entitles students to stipend payments for an additional 30 undergraduate credit hours. (CRS 23-18-202-(5)(c)(I))
ASSET – Undocumented Students
QUALIFYING FOR ASSET
The new law requires an institution to classify a student as an in-state student for tuition purposes if the student:
- Attended a Colorado high school for at least one year before graduation or was physically present in Colorado for at least one year immediately preceding the date the student successfully completed a high school equivalency examination in Colorado; and
- Has been physically present in Colorado for at least 12 consecutive months prior to enrolling in an institution.
Please note the following changes from previous requirements:
- There is no longer a requirement for the student to be admitted to college within 12 months of graduation.
The original law from 2013, Advancing Students for a Stronger Tomorrow (ASSET) allows eligible students to pay in-state tuition at Colorado’s public colleges and universities if they meet certain qualifications Legislation in 2019 further updated the law allowing ASSET students to receive in-state financial aid.
Credit Hour Limit Waivers
Every student who creates a COF account is automatically allotted 145.00 undergraduate hours to use over the lifetime of their undergraduate education. Students who have exhausted the 145 credit hours, can request a waiver for additional funding. There are two types of waivers for students attending participating public colleges: (1) waivers granted by institutions; and (2) waivers granted by the CCHE. Students attending participating private colleges are only eligible for the CCHE Waiver in accordance with Colorado Revised Statutes 23-18-202(5)(f). In order to apply for a CCHE waiver, students attending public colleges must first have applied for and either have been granted or denied an institutional waiver. For information on institutional waivers, students should contact their respective institutions. Click here for the CCHE waiver and additional information.
Credit Hour Appeals
There is an appeal process for students who believe a mistake was made in a prior semester that prevented the student from receiving COF. The Department of Higher Education (DHE) will accept appeals from students for the College Opportunity Fund (COF) stipend after students have tried to resolve the issue with their respective institution. For information on institutional appeals, students should contact their respective institutions. Click here for the DHE appeal application and additional information.
Students applying for the College Opportunity Fund can do so online. This process is available through College Assist at: https://cof.college-assist.org. Completing the on-line application creates the student’s COF account which they can view immediately. After applying for the COF stipend students will need to authorize payment of the stipend when they register for classes at their respective institutions.