Gov. John Hickenlooper announced that all 32 public colleges and universities in Colorado, and several private institutions, will allow students to apply for free on Tuesday, Oct. 30 as part of the inaugural Colorado Free Application Day.
Colorado Free Application Day caps off College Application Month in Colorado, a six-week, statewide campaign that encourages high school seniors to successfully submit an application to a higher education program and file their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Admissions application information for each institution is available on the campaign website. Application fees will be waived for complete submissions on Oct. 30 only.
“Colorado Free Application Day is about increasing access for any student who wants to pursue a degree in one of Colorado’s many higher education institutions,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “A diverse, homegrown talent pool is key to maintaining a strong economy. We encourage students to find the opportunity that complements their unique skill sets.”
The statewide 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 a college, university or certificate program. Only 50 percent of students submit a FAFSA application—a key indicator of student success.
“By waiving application fees, our institutions are knocking down a common barrier to higher education and rallying around the success of all students,” said Dan Baer, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE). “We’re grateful for their support and eager to see Coloradans make the most of this opportunity.”
Further education and training is becoming increasingly critical in the state’s rapidly-changing economy. 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 only 56 percent of the adult population in Colorado has earned a degree or certificate.
In response to these workforce demands, CDHE set a goal of reaching 66 percent attainment by 2025 in their statewide plan for higher education, Colorado Rises. Increasing postsecondary enrollment and reducing equity gaps—the racial disparities in educational attainment—are priority strategies to improve access and reduce costs for Coloradans.
For more information on Colorado Free Application Day and College Application Month, visit www.CICCollegeAppMonth.org.