It’s the season of giving thanks, and I’m incredibly thankful for the community that continues to support our work at the University of Colorado. I’ve met many wonderful Coloradans who have strengthened my commitment to ensuring our campuses reflect the diversity of our great state.
Recently, I was invited to Cafecito Denver, a group of Latinas who are champions of state and local efforts affecting the Hispanic community. I also participated in a dialogue on education in Colorado by a group of Black women in the metro Denver area who are working to improve the state of education for Black youth. I was honored to participate in CU Denver’s celebration of its AANAPISI (Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution) designation, as it also strives to achieve HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) designation in recognition of its significant enrolled Hispanic student demographic. I visited the Southern Ute Tribe during the signing of CU Boulder’s revived partnership with the Southern Ute Department of Education, which will provide scholarships to Native American students seeking a four-year degree. I am honored to walk arm in arm with Colorado’s diverse communities as we work to reflect the diversity of our great state with our students, faculty and staff.
I remain concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to remove race as a consideration in college admissions will discourage some minority students from applying to CU. This court’s decision should have no impact on our undergraduate admissions process. We are currently accepting applications and are ready to support all who seek a degree from one of our campuses.
So, my message is simple: Apply to CU!
All of our campuses accept a large majority of the Colorado students who apply. Our acceptance rates demonstrate that most Colorado high school students who want to attend CU can. This year, of our more than 66,000 students, over 21,000 students of color are enrolled at CU’s campuses. However, work clearly remains.
We know many Coloradans have concerns about the affordability of a four-year degree. Like most people, I wish college cost less. That said, it may cost less than you think, and we work hard to keep tuition in check. Every year, we draw a large number of students transferring from community colleges and other four-year institutions, and we’re making it easier to transfer high school and community college credits while providing meaningful support to these students. Transferring credits can shorten the time it takes to earn a CU degree, which makes a CU education cheaper.
Additionally, many students qualify for Federal, state and institutional aid, thereby significantly reducing the cost of college. At CU, we’ve doubled our investment in grants and scholarships over the past decade, and, on average, we’ve increased institutional aid 8.7 percent per year. Last year alone, CU awarded nearly $240 million in grants and scholarships.
We also have programs in place aimed specifically at Colorado high school graduates, including our Colorado Promise program, which provides free tuition and fees for eligible Colorado resident students with the greatest financial need. CU Boulder’s recent expansion of the CU Promise has doubled the number of state resident students who are eligible for free tuition and fees.
The CU community is enriched by the unique experiences, perspectives and contributions of each of our community members, nearly all of whom, at some point, look for a community or space where they fit in. So, let me address the issue of belonging for every Colorado student who wants a four-year degree as a foundation for their future: You DO belong at CU, and we are here to help you achieve your dream!
Todd Saliman, President, University of Colorado.
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