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Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) – Matching Student Scholarship Grant

Grants to Colorado Nonprofits for Scholarship Funds
on Behalf of Counties, IHEs, and Workforce Programs

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Colorado Department of Higher Education

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Grants to Colorado nonprofit organizations to match educational scholarship funds on behalf of counties, community workforce programs, and IHEs. LOIs are due January 2. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact program staff prior to applying. Scholarships issued from these funds will provide tuition assistance to students within the qualifying income limits.

COSI grant awards for matching student scholarships are intended to:

-Generate greater availability of scholarship dollars for Colorado students whose income is determined to be between 0% and 250% of the maximum permissible income for the purpose of determining eligibility for Pell grants;

-Promote scholarship programs that include student support services to help students persist and complete a certificate or degree in a timely fashion;

-Encourage communities to create or leverage scholarship foundations that assist their students with covering the costs of higher education and motivate students to graduate and go on to pursue a degree or credential; and

-Align tuition assistance programs with workforce development programs.

In FY 17-18, COSI will award grants for matching student scholarships in three specific categories: County-based grants, Institution of Higher Education grants; and Workforce Development grants.

Scholarships should be distributed only to students:

-Whose household incomes are determined to be between 0 and 100% or between 100 and 250% of the maximum permissible income for the purpose of determining eligibility for PELL grants;

-Participating in a rigor-based student success program;

-Classified as Colorado residents for tuition purposes; and

-Attending public vocational schools, community colleges, four-year institutions of higher education, and research institutions in Colorado.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176306

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply on behalf of counties, public institutions of higher education in Colorado, and local workforce boards, coalitions or organizations. If applying on behalf of a county for a county-based grant, receive support from the Board of County Commissioners. If applying on behalf of an institution of higher education for an institution of higher education-based grant, identify and receive support from institutional advisory board or other designated authority.

Nonprofit organization means tax-exempt charitable or social welfare organization operating under section 501 (c) (3) or 501 (c) (4) of title 26 of the United States Code, the federal “Internal Revenue Code of 1986”, as amended.

Scholarships should not be intended to supplant federal, state, local or non-federal funds. Scholarships should be significant gap support grants intended to close the affordability gap for students pursuing postsecondary credentials.

Currently, ASSET students are not eligible for state or matching funds from the Scholarship Initiative.

Pre-Application Information:

Award amounts will be a 1:1 match on new scholarship dollars raised to meet designated allocations. The final agreement between the CDHE and the applicant will consider both state funds and matching funds to be subject to the same allowable use of funds

The level of funding available for the 2017-2018 fiscal year is approximately $7.5 million,
designated as follows:
-Colorado Public Institutions of Higher Education: $1,500,000
-Colorado Counties: $5,000,000
-Workforce Programs: $1,000,000

It is highly recommended that you contact program staff to discuss the proposed project.

Letters of intent first need to be approved before application materials will be accepted.

Please Note: March and May applicants will be invited to apply through a soon-to-be launched online portal. Please watch for updated application instructions.

Applications will be reviewed at the board’s discretion, and on a rolling basis from November 2017 through May 2018. Please reference the table below for upcoming deadlines:

March 2018:
-LOI Due: January 2, 2018
-Application Due: January 31, 2018
-Board Approval: March 14, 2018
-Notification: March 21, 2018
-Expected First Payment: May/June 2018

May 2018:
-LOI Due: March 1, 2018
-Application Due: March 29, 2018
-Board Review: May 10, 2018
-Notification: May 17, 2018
-Expected First Payment: July/August 2018

Application Process and Guidelines:

Watch a webinar on the application process:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Applications should be submitted electronically to:

Shelley Banker

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Colorado