Districtwide CMC $1K scholarship ‘a game changer’ | PostIndependent.com

Districtwide CMC $1K scholarship ‘a game changer’

Colorado Mountain College President Carrie Hauser is more than living up to her promise that every graduating high schooler in the area will get a letter of admission.

This month, seniors throughout the college's 12,000-square-mile service are finding out that they're not only preapproved to attend, but the school will put down $1,000 scholarship to get them started.

"It is an invitation to students to keep CMC top of mind for their college choice and a message to all young people in our communities that they are college material," Hauser said.

The CMC President's Scholarship would cover more than half of student's first-year tuition at any one of the college's 11 locations from Rifle to Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs to Leadville and Chaffee County, Edwards to Aspen, and the Roaring Fork Valley.

“It is an invitation to students to keep CMC top of mind for their college choice and a message to all young people in our communities that they are college material.”Carrie HauserColorado Mountain College president

In order to receive the scholarship, a student must submit an application and federal student aid (FAFSA) form by March 31, graduate by June 30, and enroll full time at CMC beginning in fall 2015, maintaining at least a 2.0 grade point average in their first semester.

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"We also want to encourage students to attend full time because we know that those who do so are more likely to complete a college degree, which has become a minimum requirement for most jobs in Colorado and nationwide," said Matt Gianneschi, chief operating officer and chief of staff at the college. "This initiative helps us fulfill several of our strategic goals: to increase access and success for our students and to prepare a skilled workforce for our employers, communities and state."

Lin Sticker, vice president for student affairs, said the scholarship is modeled on best practices that have proven successful elsewhere, "though those have largely been funded by private foundations. For example, the Denver Scholarship Foundation has a scholarship program for Denver public school students with very similar requirements to ours."

Tamara Tormohlen, executive director of the Aspen Community Foundation, called the move "a game changer, especially for students who might not otherwise think that college is an option."

Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Diana Sirko agreed.

"We know that our students will most likely need some post-secondary education for the jobs of the future," she said. "It is comforting to know that this may provide the opportunity to get many of our students started on that pathway."

Francisco Otero, a Rifle High School student who is taking concurrent enrollment classes in welding through the college, said that thanks to the scholarship he plans to enroll in CMC-Rifle's new associate of applied engineering technician program. Previously he did not think that he would be able to attend college, but said that the $1,000 scholarship "was a spark that made me realize that it's possible."

Otero, and his sister who went to beauty school, are the only ones in their family who have pursued any education beyond high school. "My family was really happy when I told them I was going to go to college," he said. "I've always wanted to go, and now that I know I'm going to go, it's really exciting."

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