University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano on Jan. 16 joined leaders from higher education, business, state government and nonprofit foundations for a White House meeting on expanding college opportunities for American students.
The event, hosted by the president and first lady, was focused on generating new ideas for expanding opportunities to more students across the country. As part of CU-Boulder’s commitment to that goal, the chancellor announced that the CU Promise program will be expanded from supporting 400 students to approximately 600 students.
“Last year the CU Promise program provided support to 400 highly qualified undergraduates who otherwise would have found it very difficult to attend the university. Our commitment to expanding the program stems from our belief that a college education is the central ingredient for financial stability and lifelong success and that these dollars are key investments in students whom we believe can succeed,” DiStefano said.
The program guarantees that eligible Colorado residents from low-income families will receive a financial aid package that includes enough grants and work-study to pay for the students’ share of tuition, fees and estimated book expenses. In addition, the expanded program will provide 10 semesters of support, which will encourage timely graduation and completion rates.
“We’re proud to say that the program expansion will now serve all those Colorado resident students who can demonstrate eligibility for Federal Pell Grants,” DiStefano added. “This will make CU Promise available to a population of excellent, high-achieving students who could use additional support, but previously did not have access to the program.”
An extension of this same program will provide support to an additional 125 low-income students during the summer term to keep them on track to timely degree completion. Grants will be provided to low-income students who do not have sufficient credits to progress to the junior level by the end of their sophomore year, and who would benefit from taking one or more classes during the summer months to catch up.
“The expansion of these existing programs will help us meet our goals of increasing our graduation rate from 68 percent to 80 percent by 2020, and ensuring that we are making the right investments in students with promising futures who can transform their communities and Colorado’s economy after graduation,” DiStefano said.