September 3, 2021 | NEWS | By Tom Byron | Photo by Kira Schulist

On Aug. 3, the Colorado College Office of Financial Aid announced an expansion to the Colorado Pledge. The program,introduced in 2019, is designed to provide additional financial aid to low and middle-income students from Colorado. 

Starting with the class of 2020, new students from Colorado whose families have incomes below $250,000 will qualify for one of three tiers of financial aid under this program. 

According to the Colorado Pledge page on the CC Admissions office website, students from Colorado families with an adjusted gross income of less than $60,000 per year will qualify for full tuition, room, and board under the program, with no parental contribution required. 

On the second tier, those from Colorado families with an adjusted gross income between $60,000 and $125,000 per year will qualify for full tuition support, with parental contribution required for room and board. 

Finally, third tier Colorado students whose families have an adjusted gross income between $125,000 and $250,000 per year will have their required parental contribution lowered to equal or less than the cost of attendance at the State Flagship University, which is Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Any student admitted to CC under the Colorado Pledge will receive this funding for all four years, as long as their family continues to meet the financial standards.

In the 2019 version of the Colorado Pledge, only students from Colorado families making less than $200,000 per year would qualify for the program, meaning that the recently announced expansion allows students from a wider range of incomes to receive aid.

“The Colorado Pledge is about families knowing that CC can be as affordable, or even more so, than a state school,” Director of Financial Aid Shannon Amundson said. “Private college education is not out of reach for students who aren’t in a position to pay the full cost of attendance, and programs like this make that easier for families to believe and to understand.”

Amundson also said this program will not be sustainable without support from “all sorts of donors to grow the endowment so the funds are available in perpetuity.” She added that students admitted under the pledge this year will continue to receive aid regardless of the success of this fundraising, though “the continuation of the pledge for future classes is contingent on the funding.” 

According to the official CC press release announcing the pledge expansion, the school intends to raise an additional $20 million to finance this plan. The college has already received “nearly $7.3 million” in contributions toward the Colorado Pledge. 

Despite this expansion in financial aid options, Amundson said that “at this time, CC does not have a plan to move to need-blind admissions.” However, she expressed hopes “to continue to grow the number of need-based students.” 

As of fall 2020, approximately 37% of CC students receive some form of need-based aid, with more than half of CC students receiving no aid at all. The expansion of the Colorado Pledge opens up more aid options for low and middle-income Colorado students, but without a change to CC’s need-conscious admissions policy, it is unclear how much the pledge will increase enrollment of need-based students. 

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