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Student Loans

Colorado Student Loans, Scholarships, and Grants

Updated Apr 12, 2023   |   7 mins read

If you’re headed off to school in Colorado, you’d be smart to check into all the scholarships, grants, and student loans you can find. You’ll find there are over 100 colleges and universities in Colorado, with many of them located in the middle part of the state near the big cities of Denver and Boulder.

Colorado is a popular state to attend college in, not just because of its universities and their reputations, but also because of all the recreational opportunities in the state. It’s home to great national and state parks, and it has many other outdoor recreations that provide a lot of entertainment for college students.

On this page:

Getting Financial Aid for College

One of the first steps every student should take for getting a complete picture of their available financial aid is filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. It’s free to fill out, and you could be leaving free money on the table if you skip this step.

To fill out the form, you’ll need a few things at your disposal. You’ll need access to:

  • Your Social Security number
  • An alien registration number for those who aren’t U.S. citizens
  • Records of money you’ve earned; use forms such as federal income tax returns and W-2s
  • Bank statements
  • Records of any untaxed income you’ve earned
  • Dependent students will also need the same information for their parents

Your basic financial aid eligibility depends upon several factors. They’ll look at what the cost of attendance will be at the school of your choice, and they’ll look at your expected family contribution.

The expected family contribution (or EFC) is figured by a formula. Your taxed and untaxed earnings, assets, and any benefits like unemployment can all be factored in. If you’re a dependent student, the school will also factor in your family’s income, assets, and benefits. Other pieces of the puzzle include how big your family is and how many members of your family will be in school during the same year.

When looking at need-based aid, your school of choice will look at the cost of attendance and subtract that by the expected family contribution. That doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be given the difference between those figures—that’s just how much need-based aid you are eligible to receive. Award amounts will vary.

State-Based Student Loans in Colorado

Unlike some other states, Colorado doesn’t offer state-based student loans. Any state funds used for college education are given to the universities, which then disburse the money to the students, according to the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

But if you need more money than you can secure with a federal student loan, you can always opt for a community bank or credit union in Colorado for a private student loan. Here are some options:

Credit Union of Colorado

The maximum length of the loan term is 96 months, with the maximum amount per year capped at $10,000. The money can be used for tuition at not-for-profit private or public colleges and universities. The money will go directly to the school, not the student. The APR will be 8.25% or higher.

Wells Fargo Collegiate Student Loan

With this loan, you won’t make any payments while in school, and you won’t have any early repayment fees. You may pay an APR ranging from 4.81% to 11.26%.

Colorado College Scholarships

There are so many scholarships available for college that looking for them and applying to them could be a part-time job for would-be students. But to apply for them, you have to know they exist. You have to do your homework.

One thing every high school student should do is exhaust all their local scholarship opportunities. They should check with their high school guidance counselor to see which ones are available at the local level. They should also check with the university they plan to attend to see if there are any scholarships they could apply to there.

Another great way to find scholarships is to look online at the state level or by searching the corporate website of your employer or your family’s employer. Many companies, including fast food restaurants, offer scholarships.

Here are some scholarship opportunities that are based in Colorado:

Colorado Dependent Tuition Assistance Program

This award is given depending upon the type of college or university a student will attend. Students who live in Colorado but attend college out of state aren’t eligible. This scholarship is awarded to approximately 660 people annually. It’s given to help pay tuition and on-campus room and board for dependents of people killed in the line of duty as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or National Guard personnel. It also applies to dependents of prisoners of war or those missing in action.

The CollegeInvest 529 Scholarship

This scholarship is available to Colorado residents who are in the middle-income bracket and have saved with a CollegeInvest 529 College Savings Plan. The next application process begins in February 2019. Students can receive up to $2,000 per year.

Boettcher Scholarship

This is a merit-based scholarship for high school seniors in Colorado. It gives a full ride to many accredited four-year colleges or universities in Colorado. Application information is given out in September of a student’s senior year.

Denver Scholarship Foundation

This scholarship is given to those who qualify from Denver Public Schools. The application for the 2019-2020 school year will be available in February 2019. The amount of the scholarship varies but can reach up to $4,000.

Colorado Grants for College

Grants are the ultimate source of funding for college students because, like scholarships, you don’t have to pay them back. Grants are often more need-based, while scholarships are usually based on merit. Some specific Colorado student grants include:

Colorado National Guard Tuition Assistance Programs

Colorado National Guard members who are eligible can apply for aid, but only certain institutions participate. The program can pay up to $4,250 per semester. The application for the Spring 2019 semester closed on Dec. 4, 2018. Another application period will be announced soon for the Fall 2019 semester.

The College Opportunity Fund

This is money given by Colorado state to state residents who are signed up for undergraduate courses at a university or college in Colorado. The amount is determined each year by the Colorado legislature.

Colorado Graduate Grant

This grant carries a maximum of $5,000. It is based upon need for Colorado residents attending in-state schools. It’s sponsored by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, and new application deadlines should be coming in 2019 for the upcoming school year.

Metropolitan State University Denver Need-Based Grant

These grants are geared toward students who haven’t earned a bachelor’s degree yet and who live in Colorado. The money is generally in the amount of $500 per semester. Incoming students should contact the school to see when they are eligible to apply.

You should check into every Colorado student grant you can to keep the out-of-pocket cost of your college education as low as possible. Grants are an excellent resource for Colorado students and students nationwide.