Initiative Helps Students Financially and Academically
Did I say COSI? Yes I did. In fact, more and more FRCC students are getting excited when they hear the acronym because it is the sound of money. Since 2015, the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) has been giving millions of dollars to Colorado college students each year. The scholarships average out around $500-$1,000 for most of our students who apply.
The Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative provides more than just help paying tuition. It adds in student supports to help ensure that every Colorado student has affordable access to higher educational opportunities—and can complete a degree or certificate to enter their desired position in Colorado’s workforce.
Those students will be positioned to earn a livable wage, graduate with less debt and positively contribute to the growth of our state’s economy.
COSI aims to provide students better access to college—and to support their success once they get to campus. By reaching students from a range of socio-economic classes, underserved students for whom college seems out of reach are not only able to afford a degree but also can access the support they need to persist and graduate.
FRCC has teamed up with COSI to provide each scholarship recipient with individual success coaching. (Fun fact: FRCC had one of the first COSI success coaching programs throughout all of Colorado.)
So How Does This Coaching Work?
Once the student receives a scholarship, they are contacted by a COSI coach to set up an initial meeting. During this appointment, the success coach asks questions to get a sense of the student’s needs. This can include (but is not limited to):
- Financial need
- Food insecurity
- Child care issues
- Counseling or disability services needed
- Need for personalized success coaching
- Soft hand-off to a four year school
- Scholarship advising
- And more…
Students appreciate the support offered by the COSI program. The money is great—but also knowing that you have someone you can go to if you need help plays a significant role in students’ success. Some students go their entire academic career without this support, so the COSI program is designed to make sure scholarship recipients have access to a success coach to help them in their educational journey. This makes a very real difference for them.
Support for ALL Scholarship Recipients
FRCC Academic Advisor Bernadette Cordova and I pioneered the success coaching program at FRCC. Throughout the past three years, we have made great strides to create an accessible program—and it’s not just for COSI recipients, but all scholarship awardees at our college.
During this time, we’ve found creative ways to give students the tools they need to succeed—without adding to their already substantial workload.
Making Help Easily Accessible for Students
Early on in the creation of the program, the COSI success coaches realized that hosting workshops was not realistic for the time constraints of many FRCC students—who may have jobs, families and lots of studying to do.
So instead the coaches designed a resource packet and an online course. Both options have been very successful in helping students access the assistance that’s available to each of them when it’s convenient for them, not just during “normal” business hours. Over the past year, FRCC success coaches have been able to advise more 90% of students receiving scholarship funds from COSI and the FRCC Foundation.
How Is All of This Even Possible?
The state of Colorado created COSI in 2014 to help underserved postsecondary students meet their educational goals. The initiative is designed to promote accessibility and affordability throughout Colorado.
With this as the goal, students are offered grant-funded programs to encourage postsecondary enrollment and support throughout their college career. This program has served more than 60,000 students in Colorado over the past five years with 87% persisting in their educational goals.
How to Apply
Students are eligible for COSI funds when they fill out the FRCC Foundation’s general scholarship application. That doesn’t necessarily mean they will receive funds but they are added to the potential pool of recipients, which streamlines the application process.
The tuition help and academic supports really help our students reach their goals. We highly encourage all FRCC students to consider applying!