Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative 

About the Scholarship Initiative

The Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (Scholarship Initiative) was created in 2014 with the goal of increasing the attainment of post-secondary credentials and degrees for under-served students in Colorado. The project addresses this challenge in two ways: accessibility and affordability.  To increase accessibility, the Scholarship Initiative funds programs that will help prepare students for post-secondary education, as well as support them through completion. To increase affordability, the Scholarship Initiative will provide tuition support to students via matching funds for community scholarships.

In 2014, the initiative granted $6.8 million - in two-year grants - to organizations across the state that work with students to improve access, retention, persistence, and completion of a post-secondary credential. More than two dozen programs from Denver, Pikes Peak, Pueblo, Northern Colorado, and Eastern and Western Colorado were selected as grant partners receiving Community Partner Program grants. Those 28 programs are helping over 20,000 students with post-secondary access, persistence, and retention so they can make meaningful workforce connections.

Additional funding for collective impact initiatives, and community partner programs (both continuing partner programs and new partner programs) will be available beginning summer 2016. 
  • Collective Impact Initiative 
    • LOI due February 26, 2016
    • Applications due June 30, 2016
  • Continuing Partner program grant 
    • 2014 grant recipients are eligible to apply for round 2 funding.
    • Application materials and guidelines will be released by June 1, 2016
  • New Partner program grant 
    • LOI due March 18, 2016
    • Applications due April 29, 2016
Leveraging $7 million of start-up funds, the initiative will partner with local programs in FY 2015-2016, matching scholarship dollars 1:1. Learn more about Matching Student Scholarship Grants
  • 2016-2017 funding and applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. Applications are due December 2, 2016 (for January 19, 2017 board meeting), February 24, 2017 (for March 15, 2017 board meeting), and April 28, 2017 (for May 17, 2017 board meeting.) Please see the application for full details and instructions. 

Services Map

Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative Service Map

Program Materials

Program Overview

Program Overview

Matching Student Scholarship overview
Matching Student Scholarship Grants 
Community Partner Program Grants Overview

Community Partner Program Grants

CIIG Flier

Collective Impact Initiative Grants

Advisory Board Overview

Advisory Board Overview

Scholarship Initiative Program Update

Program Update Spring 2015 

Program Update 2016

Program Update 
Fall 2016

 Strategic Plan

Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative Strategic Plan

Program Reports

 COSI Legislative Report June 2015

2015 Legislative Report


Rules for the administration of the Initiative

 Evaluation Plan

Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative Evaluation Plan

Mid-Grant Progress

Mid-Grant Progress Report for 2014 Community Partner Program Grants

 MSS 2015-2016 Report Final

Matching Scholarship Qualitative Evaluation
Academic Year 

Student Network Report

COSI Student Network Report 2018

Community Partnership Program Evaluation Academic Year 2015-2016

Community Partnership Program Outcome Report Academic Year 2016-2017

Matching Student Scholarships Evaluation Academic Year 2015-2016

Matching Student Scholarships Outcome Report Academic Year 2016-2017

Board Members

The Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative Board is comprised of the members of the Colorado Workforce Development Council Executive Committee along with three additional appointees who represent the different types of public Higher Education Institutions in the state.

Appointed board members are familiar with the various approaches to student success, academic persistence, and workforce development best practices that, when coupled with tuition assistance programs, ensure students succeed in their post-secondary careers. They are advocates for the program and assist with fundraising and community outreach.

Commissioner Katy Anthes
Colorado Department of Education

Dr. Dan Baer
Colorado Department of Higher Education

Dr. Ryan Barone
Colorado State University

Stephanie Copeland
Office of Economic Development and International Trade

Tim Fry
Mountain Racing Products

Noel Ginsburg
CareerWise Colorado & Intertech Plastics

Ryan Keiffer
A-Train Marketing

Dr. Byron McClenney*
Colorado Community College System

Lisanne McNew
McNew & Associates

Wendell Pryor*
Adams State University

Liddy Romero
WorkLife Partnership

Kyle Sickman

Sam Walker
Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

*Appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper pursuant to HB 14-1384 
** Colorado Workforce Development Council Chair

Board Meetings

The Board meets quarterly with the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative staff to ensure program implementation is consistent with statutory requirements. With the help of the board, the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative awarded $6.8 million in grants to 28 student success programs in Colorado in December 2014. The Board is also responsible for the allocation of $7 million dollars for 1:1 matching student scholarships in FY 15-16 and in FY 16-17.

The next regularly scheduled meeting will take place November 14, 2018 from 2:00 - 3:30pm at Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
: 633 17th Street, Denver CO 12th Floor Conference Room. 

11-14-2018 Meeting Agenda

7-11-2018 Meeting Agenda

5-10-2018 Meeting Agenda

11-15-2017 Meeting Agenda

9-20-2017 Meeting Agenda

7-19-2017 Meeting Agenda

5-17-2017 Meeting Agenda

3-15-2017 Meeting Agenda

1-19-2017 Meeting Agenda

10-19-2016 Meeting Agenda

8-17-2016 Meeting Agenda

5/18/2016 Meeting Agenda

3/18/2016 Meeting Agenda

1/20/16 Meeting Agenda

11/12/15 Meeting Agenda

9/28/15 Meeting Agenda

8/19/15 Meeting Agenda

5/20/15 Meeting Agenda

3/20/15 Meeting Agenda

12/11/14 Meeting Agenda

8/20/14 Meeting Agenda

*To request meeting minutes, please contact  

A public hearing for the rules for the administration of the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative was held during the August 19 board meeting. Rules are effective beginning October 15, 2015.

Cross-Department Team

Shelley  Banker Director, Scholarship Initiative Staff
Student Success Network Manager
Student Success Network Coordinator
Stephanie  Ricker Academic Project Manager DHE
Carl  Einhaus  Director of Student Affairs DHE
Andy         Tucker Director, Postsecondary Readiness CDE
Abigail Ault Workforce Liaison CWDC
Fred  Franko Workforce Education Coordinator CDLE
Amy           Venturi Deputy Chief of Staff, Gov. HickenlooperGov Office
Rosy  McDonough Director of the Minority Business Office  OEDIT