By Ana Mashek
Colorado College is taking action to increase economic diversity on campus. In this academic year alone, CC has launched three programs with this aim.
The most recently implemented program — The Stroud Scholars Program — targets high-promise, local Colorado Springs students who “face a range of barriers to college acceptance and success.” Selected Stroud Scholars will spend a total of nine weeks on CC’s campus over the course of three summers and will complete a range of college preparatory work. With successful completion, CC will guarantee admission to the scholar.
The pilot program will begin this summer, and Colorado Springs high school first-years can anticipate the release of an application in November, due February.
The program hopes to draw in students from low-income families who attend public, under-resourced high schools. According to President Jill Tiefenthaler, CC is working with principals, counselors, and teachers from these schools to attract promising students.
According to the director of Financial Aid at CC, Shannon Amundson, “You know a lot of these students are students who probably are not getting pushed from home to go to college. For these kids, you don’t have a lot of people [telling them to] go forth and prosper, so [CC] want[s] to give them that support network.”
Amundson said she hopes that potential students will be encouraged to pursue this program by their school resources in communication with CC.
CC predicts there will be 250 applicants, 25 of whom will be comenamed Stroud Scholars. While there are no specific prerequisites for applicants, the program is intended for students who meet the requirements for the Pell Grant, which is a federal program aimed at low- and middle-income households. However, there is no solid income cut-off because the college does not want to exclude anyone who could be a good match for the program.
The scholars will arrive on campus this July as rising high school sophomores for three fully-funded weeks of academically-enriching activities. These will involve classes aimed at developing writing and quantitative reasoning skills, and seminars that encourage critical thought. While there is an emphasis on academics, Amundson also highlighted programs that focus on financial management and navigating a campus. For the subsequent two summers, the scholars will return for similar experiences. In addition to the summer experience, coaching and advising will be available during the school year.
While the Stroud Scholar program doesn’t necessarily end in attendance at CC, Tiefenthaler’s dream is that, all “25 [scholars] will complete the program and enroll here.” At a minimum, Amundson hopes the scholars will “have such a comfortable and good experience” that they will realize CC is a “viable” option for them, but also notes that attendance at any college would be considered a success for the program.
If Tiefenthaler’s dream is realized, scholars will spend four more years on campus with a “comprehensive financial aid package,” mirroring the Questbridge scholar match which covers the direct costs of tuition — not including textbooks, travel, and personal items.
Given the possibilities offered to local students by this and similar programs, CC will see an uptick in in-state students. With these programs in place, the school will grow closer to its goal of enrolling 20% of Colorado residents, which Tiefenthaler believes will enhance the experience for all CC students.
“While CC is committed to enrolling a diverse student body from around the globe, [it’s] also a Colorado institution,” Tiefenthaler stated. “CC wants to reaffirm [its] commitment to [the] state.”