Colorado Mountain College distributed the following editorial by Shane Larson to media outlets within the CMC district.
By Shane Larson, vice president of Student Affairs at Colorado Mountain College
How many times have you heard a local student say, “I’m going to CMC for two years to get my associate degree, then I’m going to transfer to (name the out-of-town college or university)”?
At Colorado Mountain College, we challenge in-district students to reconsider that plan. Local students can save thousands off the skyrocketing cost of a college education by staying at CMC. This keeps them out of deep debt so they have financial freedom when they need it most — as they start their careers.
That’s why we’re introducing a new scholarship. It’s called the “Go For 4” scholarship, and it’s designed just for local students.
Before 2011, when the college first began offering bachelor’s degrees, students would often earn associate degrees and then transfer to other colleges or universities for further study. But now, along with granting certificates and associate degrees, CMC offers five four-year degrees (and, if legislation currently under consideration passes the state Senate, will be able to offer more). As a result, the Colorado Department of Higher Education now considers CMC as a four-year college. And in-district students can earn a high-quality, affordable bachelor’s degree close to home.
The Go For 4 Scholarship is yet another way for CMC to support the goals and dreams of local students. In 2015, CMC President Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser and the college’s board of trustees launched a scholarship exclusively for graduating high school seniors living in the college’s 12,000-square-mile service area. Called the President’s Scholarship, it provides each qualifying student with $1,000 during their first full year attending one of CMC’s 11 locations and is renewable for a second year.
To date 402 students have made use of this scholarship, and our initial results show that these students are succeeding well beyond state and national averages. For instance, of the first group of students who received the President’s Scholarship, 79 percent continued to be enrolled at CMC after one year, compared to 56 percent in Colorado and 62 percent nationally. And of this first group of President’s Scholarship recipients, 44 percent graduated with an associate degree within three academic years, compared to 24 percent in both Colorado and nationally.
The Go For 4 Scholarship is a continuation of that concept. This financial incentive targets in-district CMC students nearing completion of their associate degree, and reinvests in them to complete their bachelor’s degree and put it to work right here in our mountain communities.
Go For 4 Scholarships will award students $500 per semester for four semesters of full-time study. A sliding scale provides funds based on credit hours, so even part-time students can benefit from the scholarship.
To qualify, students must have (or be close to receiving) an associate degree in good standing from CMC, live in-district and be continuously enrolled in Go For 4 for four semesters.
The scholarship will apply to students earning a Bachelor of Science in business administration, a Bachelor of Arts in sustainability studies, a Bachelor of Applied Science in leadership and management, a Bachelor of Science in nursing, or other future bachelor’s degrees that associate degrees can directly be tied into. (Students working toward a bachelor’s in education, a program that doesn’t include an associate degree, have other financial support such as a $10,000, fourth-year stipend.)
Through the years and because of the generosity of taxpayers living in the college’s district, CMC has been able to maintain extremely reasonable tuition rates for our students. Particularly, we want those students who are from our mountain communities to take advantage of the college’s inclusive, extraordinary higher education opportunities – and to complete college free of burdensome loan debt.
Visit President’s Scholarship for information about this scholarship for graduating high school seniors. For more information about CMC’s new scholarship for students seeking bachelor’s degrees, go to the Go For 4 Scholarship.