By Cliff Foster
Colorado is expected this month to adopt a new state financial aid formula for higher education to promote retention and timely graduation, Gov. John Hickenlooper said in his State of the State address last Thursday, Jan. 10.
Hickenlooper also called on members of the state legislature to “find an equitable and fair way for undocumented kids—kids who have grown up here and done well in school—to pursue a higher education.” (The ASSET bill, which addresses in-state tuition for undocumented Colorado high school graduates, will be introduced in the legislature tomorrow, 1/15.)
Hickenlooper also outlined several school-reform initiatives, adding “reforming the education system doesn't end at 12th grade. It continues into higher education.”
“This month, we will adopt a need-based financial allocation process. Unique in the nation, it supports Coloradans with the highest need and incentivizes retention and timely completion,” he said. “Together with performance contracts, we now have a shared commitment from our colleges and universities to focus on results and completion.”
Put simply, financial-aid money institutions receive from the state would increase for eligible students [those receiving Pell grants] as they progress from freshman through their senior years. If a student needed a fifth year or beyond to complete a degree, the per-student state allocation would return to the freshman level thereafter.
“Essentially, the state is looking for ways to incent behavior that will encourage students to progress academically and lessen their time to degree completion," says Judi Diaz Bonacquisti, associate vice president for enrollment management." For the last several years, MSU Denver has focused much effort on our students’ success, and we are hopeful these policies will complement our work and benefit our students.”
The new allocation formula, which is expected to be adopted by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education on Jan. 22, complements the performance contracts, adopted by each school late last fall that measure how well they are meeting the retention, graduation and other goals of the new statewide master plan for higher education. MSU Denver’s was approved by the trustees in December.
Higher education will also be on the agenda of the second annual Colorado Innovation Network Summit in August. “National and international stakeholders [will] discuss technology, workforce development, higher education and our state's brand,” Hickenlooper said.
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