Applications double during second Colorado Free Application Day
Colorado students submitted nearly 44,500 college and university admissions applications during the second Colorado Free Application Day on Oct. 15, 2019, doubling participation from last year’s effort and saving almost $2 million in waived fees.
Participating institutions received 44,488 applications in total, a 100 percent increase over last year’s campaign. Colorado State University in Fort Collins (CSU) led with more than 9,100 applications, followed by CU Boulder (7,339) and the University of Northern Colorado (5,908). Statewide, application submissions are up 10 percent compared to last year for four-year colleges and universities. See the campaign fact sheet for more information.
“We are thrilled by the results of this year’s Colorado Free Application Day,” said Gov. Jared Polis, who announced Colorado Free Application day in this video message. “We know that access to higher education is a crucial step toward securing a good paying job that can help hardworking people enjoy the Colorado way of life and provide for themselves and their families. Removing this cost barrier is one way we can make higher education more accessible for students and families, and I am proud our institutions continue to step up and rally behind them.”
By eliminating application fees, Colorado Free Application Day is designed to boost the state’s stagnant college-going rate and make progress toward the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s (CDHE) strategic goal to erase equity gaps—the racial disparities in higher educational enrollment and graduation.
About half of the applications (21,373) were submitted by students of color, and a more than a third were submitted by first generation students (16,495)—two groups that have historically lower college enrollment rates in Colorado. Among the 2017 graduating high school class, there was a 15-point gap in postsecondary enrollment among white (61 percent) and Hispanic and Latinx students (46 percent), who make up the fastest-growing ethnic group in the state, and a 7-point gap among white and African American and Black students (54 percent).
“Colorado Free Application Day is all about activating potential,” said Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of CDHE. “We’re thrilled that tens of thousands of students took advantage of this opportunity and eager to see what they accomplish on our Colorado campuses.”
In November, Gov. Polis, and CDHE executive director Dr. Paccione were joined by college and university presidents from across the state as they released a plan to make college more affordable.
“Many students said they were motivated to apply in-state and were encouraged by parents and teachers,” said Timalyn O’Neill, Senior Associate Director Admissions Processing & Service Coordination at CSU. “This allows us to keep strong students in state by giving them earlier access to scholarships.”
Among transfer students, Metropolitan State University of Denver was the most popular destination with 392 applications, and CSU Fort Collins (346) and UNC (177) came in second and third respectively. As part of Colorado Free Application Day, most community colleges waived fees for requesting transcripts, a key step in the transfer process.
“We want Colorado students to attend Colorado institutions, and the day gave us an opportunity to work with students who otherwise may not have applied,” said Clark Brigger, executive director of admissions for CU Boulder. “It sends a positive message about Colorado institutions.”
Colorado Free Application Day caps off Colorado Applies Month, an annual statewide campaign coordinated by CDHE that encourages students to submit at least one postsecondary application and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Despite being one of the most educated states in the country, Colorado sent just 56.3 percent of Colorado high school graduates to a college, university or technical school in 2017.