Across the U.S., 39 million people have taken some college classes but never graduated, with one of the top reasons for stopping out being that they cannot afford the cost. For those whose tuition and fee balances ended up in collections, it can feel like they will never be able to repay that money and realize their dream of earning a degree.

Metropolitan State University of Denver wants to change that.

The Bursar’s Grant – founded in November 2022 by MSU Denver Board of Trustees member Jerry Glick – provides former MSU Denver students with a clear path for getting back into the classroom, where they can achieve their educational goals and ambitions.

“I am convinced that coming back to school and getting a degree or certificate is the key to accomplishing what you want in life,” said Glick, managing partner of Columbia Group LLP. “Getting these students reenrolled and their debt paid off benefits the student, the University and the community.”

Each semester, the Office of the Bursar contacts qualified students about participating in the grant program. After signing an agreement and paying 75% of their bill, including collection fees, their account is released from collections and holds are lifted, allowing them to apply for readmission and register for classes. If they stay enrolled until the census date, the grant funds will pay the remainder of their collection balance.

Thirty-three students took advantage of the program during the 2023 spring semester; one is slated to graduate in May, and another this summer.

“This is one of the most remarkable projects I have ever worked on in my life,” said Christina Botello, University partnerships accounts manager, Office of the Bursar. She says that for students who have felt financially overwhelmed, the grant gives them the relief they need to continue in a positive direction.

“You guys have given me the hope I need to move forward with my life,” said one student who relaunched their educational journey using the grant.

Another said, “It’s like I’ve been given a second chance to become the nurse I’ve dreamed of being for such a long time. Thank you!”

Outreach for the 2023 summer and fall semesters has already begun. Botello is optimistic about the continuing and far-reaching impact of the grant, saying that the positive word of mouth is empowering. “No matter how you look at it, this gift has given everyone involved an opportunity – even the students who decline our offer were at least given another chance to succeed,” she said.

“Our students now have a fresh start returning to the University. It gives them the power to become the changemakers MSU Denver is searching for.”

For more information about The Bursar’s Grant, contact Steve Galpern, senior director of Development.