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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

CSU Pueblo unveils Colorado Promise Scholarship


A tuition promise for us

By LuEllyn Ruybal


Beginning fall semester of 2022, Colorado State University Pueblo will implement its latest enrollment initiatives — an offer to cover tuition for eligible students whose families earn a gross income of $50,000 or less. 

Dubbed the “Colorado Promise,” this last-dollar scholarship will cover any remaining tuition after all other financial aid is applied to the awarded students. Eligible students must be a Colorado resident with a gross income of $50,000 or less, a full-time and first-time undergraduate student attempting their first bachelor’s degree, and must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by June 1. 

Chrissy Holliday
(Courtesy photo/CSU Pueblo)

“There are plenty of people who come here who can do the work. Life gets in the way. What they can pay for and tuition is a contributing factor. We want to help eliminate that,” said Chrissy Holliday, vice president of Enrollment Management, Communication and Student Affairs (EMCSA) at CSU Pueblo.

Additionally, CSU Pueblo is offering free on-campus housing for one year to new fall 2022 students who live in Las Animas, Alamosa, Otero, Crowley, Bent, Prowers, Baca, Huerfano, Custer, Costilla, Fremont, Pueblo and El Paso counties. Similar housing grants have been offered in the past, but not to the degree that is being offered for fall 2022. 

“We’ve expanded which counties qualify. We were getting feedback from prospective students in these counties … saying that they live close enough to commute. And then they do it for a semester, but it’s really hard,” Holliday said. “We know a lot of students’ success ends up suffering because of it. If the commute or housing is the one thing standing in the way, what can we do to try to fix that? We haven’t been at full occupancy … so if we can bring students in and give them a bed, let’s do it.” 

The free housing offer applies to the cost of a residence hall triple-room rate for one year — which is valued at $4,950 — and may be applied to the cost of any on-campus housing, regardless if a student chooses to upgrade. This scholarship is awarded to the first 150 eligible students who accept this award and complete the housing application and enrollment deposit by July 1. 

With ads promoting CSU Pueblo’s Colorado Promise, enrollment numbers may start to rise. The University’s marketing team has gone as far as running ads in area movie theaters to promote the enrollment initiative. 

In addition to launching a digital campaign to promote the university and its promise, the university’s marketing team has also begun digitally targeting certain geographic areas of Colorado that may qualify for the housing grant. 

With just under 4,000 currently enrolled students and the university’s goal to bring that number to around 5,500, CSU Pueblo has promised its students a tuition guarantee regardless of enrollment numbers. 

Holliday expects that while enrollment numbers may go up, the student-faculty ratio will remain around 20:1. 


Three years to fruition

While CSU Pueblo may not be the first college in the state to offer tuition coverage, Colorado Promise has been in development for three years. To bring the Colorado Promise to fruition, different funding streams were pulled together internally to re-align the school’s budget.  

More funding may be in the works, as CSU Pueblo is currently speaking to the CSU Pueblo Foundation about possibly helping Colorado Promise’s tuition guarantee. 

“If nothing else, the university has made a commitment that we are covering it. We have realigned other funding that we had institutionally and set aside to say, ‘This is what we’re doing,’” said Holliday. 

Many other projects seem to be in the works with President Timothy Mottet’s “Vision 2028” —  its vision statement to establish CSU Pueblo as the people’s university of the Southwest United States by 2028. 

“It started as a way to re-imagine as a university what we want to do and who we want to be,” Holliday said. “One of those things that came out of that was our vision statement. What does that mean? It means making college possible; making it affordable. We built all these initiatives that we are putting into place. Colorado Promise is one of those things.” 

Another program that Vision 2028 has begun is CSU Pueblo Works, which helps get students paid who have required placements, such as nursing. 

“A lot of times our students have to quit jobs to be able to go do those. And they don’t get paid for it,” she said. “We are a federal experimental site for a program that lets us pay them. We can pay our nursing students for their clinicals. We can pay our teacher ed students for student teaching.” 

** See related content: Scholarship, housing program makes big promise to low-income students **

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