A time to finish what you started

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Photo of Kendra Gros

Kendra Gros is completing her college degree at CMC Aspen, thanks to a program called Finish What You Started. The program offers a 50 percent discount for qualifying students to complete an associate degree.

In-district Coloradans are completing their college degrees – and you can too

By Carrie Click

Kendra Gros is a successful stylist with a thriving business at Full Circle Salon in Aspen. Now 30, she’s also, finally, finishing her college degree.

Thanks to a Colorado Mountain College discounted tuition program, Finish What You Started, Gros and students like her throughout the college’s six-county district are going back to school. In honor of CMC’s 50th anniversary, returning in-district college students – who have stopped out for at least a year from attending any college or university – are eligible to complete their first associate degree at a 50 percent tuition discount.

The innovative program began this past fall to qualified students who currently do not have a two-year or higher degree and who have not attended college for a year or more. So far, a total of 60 students including Gros, from all seven CMC campuses – and through online learning – have enrolled in the program.

Motivated to get degree

Gros graduated from Bridges High School in Carbondale, where she took a few free CMC classes through concurrent enrollment. After she graduated from high school, she said she wanted to get her college degree, but work and life got in the way. That’s until she heard about Finish What You Started, which makes an already affordable education an extraordinary bargain.

“It’s really motivating,” she said. “And I can still work and go to school in Aspen.”

Gros said she’s enjoying the liberal arts curriculum she’s taking at Colorado Mountain College Aspen, which includes classes in modern literature, humanities and art. “I’m not as concerned about what I get a degree in, I’m just getting my degree,” she said.

The first 50 eligible in-district students at each of CMC’s seven campuses (some locations are grouped into a campus) plus online will receive the discount, paying as little as $31/credit for in-district students working to complete their associate degree. Finish What You Started runs through fall semester 2017 – which marks the college’s 50th year of serving western Colorado – or until the scholarships are gone, whichever comes first.

Details about Finish What You Started are available at coloradomtn.edu/finish. Anyone interested in applying or learning more is encouraged to make an appointment with a counselor at any CMC campus.