In the next few days, over 500 students who were close to completing a bachelor's degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder but left for one reason or another will receive letters from the Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies encouraging them to return to classes.
The effort is part of CU Complete -- a clearinghouse to help former CU students earn degrees -- and a partnership with the Colorado Department of Higher Education, the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education, or WICHE, and the Lumina Foundation. CU Complete is just one portion of WICHE's five-state "Non-traditional No More" project.
CU Complete scholarships of either $500 (for students enrolled in one to eight credits) or $1,000 (for students enrolled in nine or more credits) are available from a $50,000 fund. CU Complete also offers free academic, financial aid and career advising for adult students who are interested in returning to college to complete their degrees.
"We are excited to be in a partnership that will help us build on our recent successes," said Anne Heinz, dean of the CU-Boulder division of continuing education. "In the past 18 months, the CU Complete program has contacted over 375 students, re-enrolled 23, awarded over $20,000 in scholarship money and helped seven students obtain degrees."
Such assistance is vital, Heinz said, as federal statistics show that the unemployment rate for individuals who have some college but no degree is 8.6 percent, nearly double the 4.6 percent rate of unemployment for individuals who have a bachelor's degree or better. In turn, state projections show that by the year 2018, 67 percent of all jobs in Colorado will require a postsecondary education, ranking Colorado fifth in the nation in postsecondary educational needs.
To be eligible for the scholarships, students must meet several points of eligibility, including:
--Students may be degree-seeking or non-degree seeking students.
--Scholarships may be applied to CU-Boulder credit courses only.
--Students must be enrolled in a course or courses in order to receive an award.
--Students are eligible for the scholarship only once.
--Scholarships are dedicated to students completing their first bachelor's degree.
--Students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA.
--Highest consideration will be given to students who meet the "ready adult" criteria established by WICHE: students at least 25 years of age who have completed a least 60 credit hours.
--Recipients must verify they are legally present in the United States (HB 1023).
"We are helping to fulfill an important need, and doing so in a great strategic partnership with WICHE and the Lumina Foundation," said Heinz. "By coming together in this way, these three key organizations are helping the state's higher education infrastructure serve both individuals and Colorado's economy."
For more information on CU Complete, visit conted.colorado.edu/programs/cu-complete/cu-complete-service/. For more information about the Non-traditional No More project visit www.wiche.edu/ntnm. For information about the Lumina Foundation for Education, visit www.luminafoundation.org.