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Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) – Matching Student Scholarship (MSS) Grant

Grants to Colorado Nonprofits for Post-Secondary Scholarship
Funds on Behalf of Counties, IHEs, and Workforce Programs

Agency Type:

State

Funding Source:

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Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE)

Conf. Date:

01/03/21

LOI Date:

02/12/21

Deadline Date:

03/26/21 - Deadline for IHE and County applications only

Description:

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Grants to Colorado nonprofit organizations to match educational scholarship funds on behalf of counties, community workforce programs, and institutions of higher education throughout the State. Applicants are required to submit a letter of intent prior to applying. Funding is intended to increase the availability of scholarship dollars for underserved students by leveraging funds and to promote student support best practices.

About the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI): The Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) was created in 2014 to increase the attainment of postsecondary credentials and degrees for underserved students in Colorado. The project addresses this challenge by focusing on accessibility and affordability. To improve accessibility, COSI funds programs that will help prepare students for postsecondary education, as well as support them through completion. To improve affordability, COSI provides tuition support to students through matching funds for community scholarships. These approaches together work to create a strong network of support for students throughout the state as they move to and through postsecondary credentials.

Matching Student Scholarship Grants (MSS Grants) are designed to provide tuition support to students via matching funds for community scholarships so that tuition costs are not a barrier to entry and helping to reduce the currently unmanageable amount of student loan debt.

Following the rules of COSI created under the authority of 23-3.3-1004, et. seq., C.R.S., MSS Grant awards are intended to:

  • Generate greater availability of scholarship dollars for Colorado students whose income is determined to be between 0% and 250% of the maximum permissible income to determine eligibility for Pell grants.
  • Promote scholarship programs that include student support services to help students persist and complete a certificate or degree in a timely fashion.
  • Encourage communities to create or leverage scholarship foundations that assist their students with covering the costs of higher education and motivate students to graduate and go on to pursue a degree or credential; and
  • Align tuition assistance programs with workforce development programs.

MSS Grants will be awarded in three categories or program models: 

  • Public Institutions of Higher Education for use at the institution. This funding is available to one applicant, specifically institution foundations, and the COSI Advisory board determines the allocation on an annual basis. 
  • County to provide funding for county residents at public institutions of higher education in the state. This funding is available to one applicant, specifically non-profit organizations and institution foundations, and the COSI Advisory board determines the allocation on an annual basis. 
  • Workforce promotes credential and degree completion in specific high-need industries or for specific vulnerable populations over the next two years. This funding is competitive and non- profit organizations and institutions of foundations are eligible to apply. Applications are only accepted during the Fall application period. 

For more information on the Use of Funds, see Page 6 in the Request for Proposals in Supporting Documents below.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176306

Estimated Total Program Funding:

$7,500,000

Estimated Size of Grant:

$7.5 million in available Matching Student Scholarship (MSS) funds are designated as follows:
-Colorado Counties: $5,000,000.00
-Colorado Public Institutions of Higher Education: $1,500,000.00
-Workforce Programs: $1,000,000.00

-The minimum amount for the endowment contribution shall be set at $25,000.

Term of Contract:

The endowment must overlay COSI guidelines for the three years of distribution to include:
-Students receiving the COSI portion of endowment must meet all COSI requirements, including 250% of pell eligibility requirements, be Colorado residents, and attend a Colorado public institution of higher ed.
-Students are participating in a rigor-based program.
-Agreements will set a three-year term with a fixed three-year distribution rate of 5.3%.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Non-profit organizations - 501(c)(3) or 501 (c)(4) -, and their partners who are committed to increasing the availability of scholarship dollars for Colorado students leveraging COSI funds to incentivize new philanthropic monies and promoting student support best practices aimed at completion are eligible to apply.

Also, applicants should consider:
-How the scholarship program will support the Colorado Commission of Higher Education’s master plan goal to increase the number of Coloradans who hold postsecondary credentials to 66 percent by 2025.
-Use data (institutional, county, enrollment rates, etc.) to determine the needs of the student population and where COSI and matching funds will make the most impact on credential completion.
-How the scholarship program will support the COSI goals of increasing credential completion and decreasing student loan debt.
-Develop a scholarship program to begin distributing funds within two years of the award year.

Scholarships should be distributed only to students:
-Whose household incomes are determined to be between 0 and 100% or between 100 and 250% of the maximum permissible income to determine eligibility for PELL grants;
-Participating in a rigor-based student success program*;
-Classified as Colorado residents for tuition purposes (includes ASSET students); and
-Attending public vocational schools, community colleges, four-year institutions of higher education, and research institutions in Colorado (when using the link, ensure the limit by institution type is filtered by 'public funding'). Does not include CSU Global.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Application Webinar:
Thursday, August 13 at 3 pm
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89247349626
Meeting ID: 892 4734 9626
One tap mobile
12532158782/13462487799

Application Q &A:
Thursday, August 27 at 9 am
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83028310605
Meeting ID: 830 2831 0605
12532158782/13462487799

Application Webinar
Thursday, January 14 at 3 pm
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87054833568
Meeting ID: 870 5483 3568
One tap mobile
12532158782/13462487799

Application Q&A
Thursday, January 28 at 9 am
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89327245521
Meeting ID: 893 2724 5521
One tap mobile
12532158782/13462487799

Pre-Application Information:

The application portal will open on Friday, August 14.

Timeline:
Fall 2020
- LOI Due: Sept 1
-LOI Notification: September 3
-Application Due: October 2
- Board Review: November 18
- Approval Notification: December 4

Winter 2021:
- LOI Due: December 11
-LOI Notification: December 18
- Application Due: January 29
- Board Review: March 17
- Approval Notification: April 2

Spring 2021
- LOI Due: February 12
-LOI Ntification: February 26
- Application Due: March 26
- Board Review: May 13
- Approval Notification: May 28

-Funds must meet match requirements.
-Both new endowments and new contributions to existing endowments are allowed.
-Workforce applications are only accepted in the Fall cycle.
-A complete LOI is required for each application period (Fall, Winter, and Spring).

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Application: https://cosi.smapply.io/

Colorado Department of Higher Education
1600 Broadway, Suite 2200
Denver, CO 80202

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Colorado

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