Published: Oct. 3, 2018
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In a statewide effort to break down barriers to higher education, all 32 public colleges and universities in Colorado—including CU Boulder—and several private institutions will waive admission application fees on Oct. 30 for Colorado residents.

The Colorado Department of Higher Education is leading this year’s inaugural Colorado Free Application Day, an initiative to inspire more Coloradans to continue their postsecondary education. College officials encourage high school students to prepare for the free application day in advance to ensure they have the best chance for admission. Colleges will waive fees for applications submitted by Colorado residents on Oct. 30 only.

“As Colorado’s flagship university, we want to serve the students of our state and provide increased access to higher education,” said Admissions Executive Director Colleen Newman. “We are excited to be part of this statewide initiative and to support Colorado students on their path toward academic and personal success.”

Other affordability efforts implemented by CU Boulder include the elimination of course and program fees, a four year lock on tuition for entering undergraduate students, automatic scholarships for academically qualified Colorado resident students, scholarships for academically qualified transfer students and grants for low-income students. Under the CU Promise program, resident students from low-income families receive grants to help pay tuition and an estimated work-study award to help pay for educational expenses.

In addition, CU Boulder recently discussed with the CU Board of Regents the importance of working with other Colorado colleges and the state legislature to increase need-based and merit scholarships aimed at retaining Colorado students.

October is College Application Month, and admissions information for the state’s higher education institutions is available on the campaign website.

The statewide, six-week push is designed to increase Colorado’s stagnant college-going and FAFSA completion rates. Despite being one of the most educated states in the country, only 56 percent of Colorado high school seniors go on to college, university or a certificate program, and just 50 percent of students submit a FAFSA application—a key indicator of student success. Application fees are a common barrier to higher education, state officials said.

In its Colorado Rises master plan, the CDHE announced it has set an ambitious goal of reaching 66 percent attainment by 2025 to erase equity gaps within the state’s higher education system. However, to get there, state higher education officials believe Colorado must significantly increase the number of high school seniors who enroll in college.

Higher education officials said research from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce shows that by 2020 nearly 75 percent of jobs in Colorado will require some education beyond high school, yet, currently, only 56 percent of the adult population in Colorado has earned a degree or certificate.

“Your willingness to rally around our young people during this effort sends a powerful message that we see their worth and believe in their unlimited potential,” said department Executive Director Dan Baer in a letter to the state’s colleges and universities.