“We want to make sure that we have more socioeconomic diversity,” Mark Hatch, the vice president for enrollment at Colorado College, told the Colorado Sun while discussing the Colorado Pledge, a new initiative that the CC Office of Admissions is rolling out this fall. 

After a 2017 Harvard University study published in the New York Times recognized CC as the second least socioeconomically diverse college in the United States, this effort is certainly welcome. Data gathered from CC’s graduating classes of the early 2000s reveals that 24.2% of students come from the top 1% of the income scale, whereas only 10.5% of students represent the bottom 60%. 

A member of the 39% not included in the study, recent CC graduate Wileen Genz ’19 wrote an article in The Catalyst last spring detailing how difficult it can be to receive aid when you’re middle or upper middle class because you can appear well off enough on paper. Hatch spoke to this in an article introducing the pledge on CC’s website: “We fully recognize that middle and upper middle income families have been asked to contribute a high percentage of their take-home pay [toward tuition].” 

The Colorado Pledge aims to help these kinds of in-state students and their families. It also hopes to attract students who would never consider CC in the first place due to its price tag. 

Essentially, if a student is from Colorado, has been admitted to CC, and their family makes less than $200,000 annually, they are eligible for the program in some capacity. Here is a breakdown of eligibility:

  Students with families making less than $60,000 will attend cost-free.

  Students with families making between $60,000 and $125,000 will pay solely for room and board. 

  Students with families making between $125,000 and $200,000 will pay the same or less than the cost of attendance at the flagship state university in Colorado. The cost of in-state tuition at schools like University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado State University rounds out in the vicinity of $11,000.

The program will only be offered to those enrolling in CC’s class of 2024 and transfers entering in the fall of 2020. The offer will extend throughout their entire CC career. This admissions year will serve as a sort of trial run. 

As for now, funding has been made possible by a “handful” of donors, but “[CC’s] strategic plan calls for additional fundraising to endow this program for future classes,” according to the admissions office website. 

Currently, CC boasts about a 15% in-state student population. As a reference point, a majority of CU Boulder students hail from Colorado, according to The Colorado Sun. The pledge, however, allows Colorado families to view CC like a state school in terms of accessibility, so that number will likely rise when the class of 2024 arrives on campus. It’s all in the spirit of increasing diversity — both socioeconomically and geographically.  

Image courtesy of Catalyst Archives

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