The act establishes the universal high school scholarship program (program) in the office of economic development (office) to provide scholarships for the 2024-25 academic year to students who pursue an in-demand or high-priority postsecondary pathway, including degrees, certificates, and registered apprenticeships, with a provider on the eligible training provider lists disseminated by the department of labor and employment, a provider in the Colorado state apprenticeship resource directory, a public or private institution of higher education operating in Colorado, or an organization approved by the office (service providers).
The office, or a vendor contracted by the office, administers the program. The office shall develop policies and procedures necessary to administer the program.
A student is eligible for the program if the student graduated from a Colorado high school or was awarded a high school equivalency credential during the 2023-24 academic year; completes the free application for federal student aid or the Colorado application for state financial aid; and did not receive a grant from the Colorado opportunity scholarship initiative.
Scholarships are awarded in the following priority: First, to all eligible students who intend to enroll at a service provider to pursue an in-demand or high-priority postsecondary pathway, then to other eligible students who intend to enroll at a service provider. The office or vendor determines the amount of each scholarship award, up to a maximum $1,500. Scholarship money is distributed to the service provider for use by the student for tuition, fees, and books.
The act requires the office to contract with vendors to provide postsecondary and career advising at schools identified by the office. The office shall make efforts to identify a diversity of schools in rural and urban areas of the state to receive postsecondary advising support.
The act requires the state treasurer to transfer $25 million from the general fund to the universal high school scholarship cash fund (cash fund). The act appropriates $25 million from the cash fund to the office of the governor for the program.
APPROVED by Governor May 16, 2023
EFFECTIVE August 7, 2023
NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause and takes effect 90 days after sine die.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)