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New Initiatives Increase College Access

Recommendation 6: Connect the CC Experience — Improve College Readiness in Colorado Through a K-12 Access Program

Charge: Develop a program to increase the number of college-ready students from marginalized backgrounds in Colorado. This initiative should reach out to K-12 students to ensure that they have the academic credentials, skills, attributes, and information needed to attend CC and other colleges. To increase our impact, we will create a program that can be assessed and improved.

What’s Happening: Colorado College launched three initiatives during the 2019 Fall Semester in its continuing effort to diversify the student body, address affordability concerns, and increase access for those historically excluded from higher education.

The Stroud Scholars Program is a three-year program aimed at providing a pathway to college for high-promise students from communities historically excluded from higher education. Students successfully completing the three-year college preparatory program will earn admission to Colorado College and receive a financial aid package that will enable them to attend.

“It’s great to make it more affordable for people that deserve it and they have the abilities to get into the school,” says Chloe Brooks-Kistler ’23, a Colorado Springs native and first-year student. “There are many bright people in the world that can’t go to college just because of the price tag. I think that’s wrong. The fact that they’re taking the resources and bringing it more to kids that live here, have grown up seeing this college,  have gone to the hockey games and have gone to CC-sponsored events without even knowing it… For them to have the ability to come here is great. It’s a school that has so many opportunities; it’s kind of overwhelming to me how many opportunities are being offered to me in such a short amount of time.”

The Stroud Scholars Program is named after two of CC’s earliest African-American graduates, Kelly Dolphus Stroud ’31 and Effie Stroud Frazier ’31, who came to CC with help from the Sachs Foundation and are featured in CC’s Untold Stories series.

Stroud Scholars prepares students for selective college environments by working directly with high promise youth to provide academic preparation, mentorship, and guidance navigating admissions and financial aid processes to CC and beyond. 

“The kids that this is going to help, they’ve never had opportunities like this,” Brooks-Kistler says, “they’ve never thought they’d have opportunities like this. So just knowing this is available, you just have to put in the work, the academic work and the extracurricular work.”

“An outstanding college education should be within reach for highly talented students in our own backyard who simply need opportunity and support,” says President Jill Tiefenthaler.

The program offers a developmental pathway beginning the summer after a student’s first year of high school and ending with a successful transition into Colorado College or another intentionally chosen college or university. Participants also will engage in programming designed to help them prepare practically for the college admissions and financial aid processes.

“I have two sisters and I would love for them to come to this school,” Brooks-Kistler says. “If it makes it more affordable for my family to have three kids going to this school, that would be perfect. That personally matters to me.”

Application information for Stroud Scholars will be accepted through Feb. 15, 2020. The program will launch in July 2020 with a class of 25 students from the Pikes Peak Region.

In addition, in Fall 2019, CC launched:

  • The Colorado Pledge, a pilot program designed to ensure Colorado College is as affordable for Colorado students from low- and middle-income families as the state’s flagship public university.
  • test-optional admission policy, in which applicants can choose whether or not to submit standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT, as part of their admission application.

Together, these initiatives help diversify the student body and increase access to a Colorado College education.

The Colorado Pledge is a financial aid initiative aimed at supporting Colorado families with adjusted gross incomes below $200,000. “Colorado College is one of only a handful of colleges in the nation to consistently meet the full demonstrated need of every admitted student,” says Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler. “The Colorado Pledge goes one step further and is a bold initiative aimed at making a private education as affordable, or more affordable, than many public universities.”

The change in the test-optional admission policy aligns with CC’s admission philosophy of holistic review, where students are valued as more than “a number” and students’ strengths beyond their test scores are considered.

The change also supports the college’s strategic plan on increasing access as research shows that 78% of affluent teens engage in test prep and the majority sit for tests multiple times. Only 8% of students from low-income backgrounds do test prep and these teens don’t take tests as many times their affluent peers.