DENVER – – Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the first scholarship project of the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, a statewide initiative to create a network of student support and scholarship programs throughout the state.
Quarterly Forum, the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative and Pueblo Community College (PCC) developed the partnership to support PCC students - some of whom may have taken courses in the past but failed to earn a credential - get to the finish line.
The partnership leverages a $1 million commitment from the Quarterly Forum over the next 10 years to infuse investment into high-needs communities and spark future philanthropic investments to support students in obtaining post secondary credentials.
As part of this commitment, the Quarterly Forum is awarding a matching grant of $75,000 in scholarship dollars to students enrolled in Project ACCESS, an initiative created earlier this year through a partnership between Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pueblo, PCC and the Pueblo County Department of Social Services. The Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative will match that commitment.
The aim is to enable these students to complete a certificate or associate degree program by providing them with financial assistance. A support system of case managers and current PCC advisors also will help make this possible. The new infusion of scholarship dollars by the Quarterly Forum will help up to 68 students pay for tuition and remedial coursework and, if needed, help them overcome unpaid tuition costs so they can complete their degree at Pueblo Community College.
“When our students work hard and prove they have the grit to succeed, there should be resources and support to help them earn a degree.” said Hickenlooper. “This initiative is designed to foster exactly the kind of collaboration that we are celebrating today. The Quarterly Forum is demonstrating real leadership by being the first to take advantage of this new fund.”
“There are a number of barriers to closing the attainment gap in this State, not least of which is the rising cost of higher education, but there are other challenges as well,” said Lt Gov. Joe Garcia, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. “This first scholarship project focuses on all the right elements to ensure that these students access, persist, and complete a postsecondary degree.”
Still in its early stages, Project ACCESS is ultimately expected to help about 310 marginalized young adults access the support they need to successfully pursue post secondary education over the next two years.
Pueblo Community College primarily serves Pueblo County where 18.1 percent of families are below the poverty level. Seventy percent of PCC student receive federal financial aid, and 35 percent receive state financial aid. Thirty-six percent of PCC students are minorities, and 29 percent are Hispanic.
Founded in 1999, Quarterly Forum is a non-partisan leadership organization of 100 of the Colorado’s most influential business and community leaders committed to professional growth, civic engagement and leadership development. Giving back to future leaders is a core value of its members as they seek to contribute to the health and vitality of Colorado. For more information about Quarterly Forum, please visit, www.quarterlyforum.org.
For more information about the Scholarship Initiative and the program’s efforts to expand scholarship giving and create a network of scholarships in the state of Colorado, please visit www.