Colorado Mountain College registering ASSET students for fall semester
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Colorado Mountain College has begun its registration of students for the fall semester, including students who qualify under this year’s ASSET (Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow) legislation aimed at lowering school tuition rates for undocumented as well as permanent-resident-alien students.
Classes at the various CMC campuses and learning centers begin the week of Aug. 26, and additional classes will have start dates throughout the semester. For any and all classes, a student must be registered no less than 24 hours prior to the start of class.
CMC, which has its central offices in Glenwood Springs, is primarily a two-year junior college, although starting in 2012 the school began awarding four-year degrees in Business Administration (BS) and Sustainability Studies (BA). The college district is spread across the northern Colorado Rockies, with three residential campuses (including Spring Valley near Glenwood Springs) and eight community campuses.
The ASSET program, authorized by Colorado Senate Bill 33 during this year’s legislative session, is expected to swell the enrollment of the state’s public colleges and universities at the in-state tuition level. There is little certainty, however, about numbers of new incoming students, versus the number of students already taking part-time classes who may move to full-time status in order to complete their degrees more quickly.
The state’s public colleges and universities are still working out how the new program might affect enrollments. At Colorado Mountain College, for example, the staff is as eager as any other group to see how ASSET affects the school’s usual enrollment of 20,000-25,000 students per year.
Tuition at CMC is pegged at $299 per credit hour for out-of-state students, which would amount to $4,485 in tuition for a student taking 15 credits.
Other rates are $95 per credit hour for in-state students, and $56 for in-district residents or veterans, active duty military personnel and their dependents.
“We don’t have a good idea of how many will be qualified [under the ASSET law] for the fall,” said Yesenia Arreola, CMC’s youth outreach coordinator and the school official charged with fielding questions about ASSET. “It will be really interesting to see what percentage of these students are new as opposed to current.”
One complicating factor, Arreola said, is the provision that links qualification for ASSET to proof of at least three years attendance at a high school in Colorado, as well as proof of graduation from a state high school (or completion of a GED).
“It is a little bit more deep and extensive that we had thought,” Arreola said of the qualifications procedure.
According to Debbie Crawford, public information officer for CMC, students can qualify for ASSET tuition breaks if they have attended a public or private high school in Colorado for at least three years, and have graduated from a high school in the state or completed a GED.
But an additional qualifying factor is that the student must be admitted to a Colorado college or university within 12 months of graduation (or completion of the GED).
But for those who graduated from high school a number of years ago, but could not afford out-of-state tuition, there is a special, one-time provision allowing applicants to qualify for ASSET’s in-state-tuition benefit if they can prove they have lived continuously in Colorado for 18 months.
But that is only good for this year, Arreola said.
Future college applicants will not have that option open to them, she said, because the 12-month admission requirement “is a way to encourage high school graduates to go straight into college” rather than waiting for a while after graduating.
In addition to the application process, students without documentation must sign an affidavit stating that they have applied for legal status, or will be applying as soon as they are eligible to do so.
And if a student has lived within the CMC district for 32 days or more, he or she can qualify for the in-district tuition rate of $56 per credit hour for 100- and 200-level classes, according to the school.
Class schedules for continuing education courses have been mailed out to households throughout the district, and the schedule for for-credit classes can be found either online at coloradomtn.edu/classes, or at a CMC facility in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Aspen, Rifle or other communities in the district.
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