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

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

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Colorado Department of Higher Education

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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 the full proposal. Funding is intended to provide tuition assistance to students within the qualifying income limits who are pursuing a postsecondary education program.

The goal of the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) is to increase postsecondary credential completion and preparedness of Colorado students to earn a livable wage, graduate with less debt and positively contribute to the growth of the State's economy. The purpose of the COSI Matching Student Scholarship Grant is to solicit applications from eligible counties, institutions of higher education and community workforce programs for grant awards dedicated to matching scholarship funds.

COSI grant awards for matching student scholarships 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 for the purpose of determining eligibility for Pell grants;
- Promote scholarship programs that include student support services to help students persist and complete a degree or certificate 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

The Scholarship Initiative will award grants for matching student scholarships in three specific categories: County-based grants, Institution of Higher Education grants; and Workforce Development grants.

Matching Student Scholarship grants may only be used for tuition assistance. Tuition assistance is defined as financial assistance to an eligible student of an eligible institution, including such financial assistance as is necessary to pay the costs of tuition, fees, books, housing, food, and transportation. 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 for the purpose of determining eligibility for PELL grants;
- Participating in a rigor-based student success program;
- Classified as Colorado residents for tuition purposes; and
- Attending public vocational schools, community colleges, four-year institutions of higher education, and research institutions in Colorado.

Legal United States Permanent Residents with a Permanent Resident Card, Resident Alien Card, or Alien Registration Receipt Card are also eligible to receive a scholarhsip award through the grant program.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176306

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply on behalf of counties, public institutions of higher education in Colorado, and local workforce boards, coalitions or organizations. If applying on behalf of a county for a county-based grant, receive support from the Board of County Commissioners. If applying on behalf of an institution of higher education for an institution of higher education-based grant, identify and receive support from institutional advisory board or other designated authority.

Nonprofit organization means tax-exempt charitable or social welfare organization operating under section 501 (c) (3) or 501 (c) (4) of title 26 of the United States Code, the federal “Internal Revenue Code of 1986”, as amended.

Scholarships should not be intended to supplant federal, state, local or non-federal funds. Scholarships should be significant gap support grants intended to close the affordability gap for students pursuing postsecondary credentials.

ASSET students are not eligible for state or matching funds from the Scholarship Initiative.

Pre-Application Information:

2018-2019 MSS Application Timeline:

March 2019:
- LOI Due: January 4, 2019
- Application Due: February 1, 2019
- Board Review: March 19, 2019
- Approval Notification: March 29, 2019
- Expected First Payment: May/June 2019

May 2019:
- LOI Due: March 1, 2019
- Application Due: March 29, 2019
- Board Review: May 16, 2019
- Approval Notification: May 24, 2019
- Expected First Payment: July/August 2019

Letters of Intent first need to be approved before application materials will be accepted (not required for November applicants). Initiative staff will contact you to speak further about your request, and may schedule a meeting. After approval of LOI, all applicants may move forward with the application process.

LOIs, applications and materials should be submitted online by the appropriate dates via the online application portal. If you require an exception, please contact the COSI team for instructions.

Applications will be reviewed at the Board's discretion, and on a rolling basis from November 2018 through May 2019.

The Initiative will partner with local programs, and award amounts will be a 1:1 match on new scholarship dollars raised to meet designated allocations. Funds can be obligated when an applicant has (1) submitted an application and entered into formal agreement with the Colorade Dept. of Higher Education, and (2) obtained a match for the available funds.

The level of funding available for the 2018-2019 fiscal year is approximately $7.5 million, designated as follows:

- Colorado Public Institutions of Higher Education: $1,500,000.00
- Colorado Counties: $5,000,000.00
- Workforce Programs: $1,000,000.00

Please note: Criteria for matching student scholarships, and available allocation amounts, in each of the three categories will be determined and published annually with the Initiative’s request for proposal for matching student scholarship grants. (See Supporting Documents below.)

For further questions about your eligibility, please contact Shelley Banker.

The work of the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative is pursuant to HB 14-1384. For the government measure enacted by the General Assembly of Colorado, see Supporting Documents below.

For Matching Scholarship Allocations and specific Guidelines for FY 18-19 for County-based grants, Institution of Higher Education grants, and Workforce Development grants:

Workforce Grants should use information from the latest data and trends for top jobs in Colorado:!/vizhome/ColoradosTopJobs-2016cwdc/TopJobs-2016

Application Process:

Economically Underserved:

Contact Information:

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

For the online application portal:

Shelley Banker

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Colorado