Colorado residents have the same opportunities for federal grants as any other U.S. resident, but there are also state grants available only to them. Grants are financial aid for college students that are need-based, so there is less emphasis on grades the way there is for most scholarships, which are merit-based. There are three grants in particular that Colorado college-bound students should look out for.
The Colorado Student Grant is awarded to students who demonstrate financial need. Students receive between $500 and $5000 for the year. Students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) the year before they want to be considered. Eligibility will be determined from the information submitted in that application.
The CLEAP is awarded to students who show they have substantial financial need, so this is not a grant for most middle class students. CLEAP provides students with cash awards each year. To make the grant even more enticing, state and federal funds are matched dollar-for-dollar up to $1000. Like the Colorado Student Grant, eligibility is determined from the student’s FAFSA application.
This is a state grant that provides money to Colorado students who would otherwise not have the money to attend college. You should contact your guidance counselor or the financial aid representative at your school for more information. Like the other grants, eligibility is determined by the FAFSA.
These are great programs that will, hopefully, supplement federal and private aid, but as you can see, the first step to getting help from the state of Colorado is filling out the FAFSA as early as possible. There is money to help students who are under financial stress, but students who put off filling out the FAFSA may miss out. The best advice is to start looking and applying early.