New Partner Program Grants

Full RFP and application materials can be found at the bottom of this page.

Access our recorded informational webinar:


In 2014, the Scholarship Initiative released the first round of Community Partner Program Grants. These two-year grants, providing $6.8 million in programmatic funding to 28 projects, focused on student success across the state.

The Scholarship Initiative’s Community Partner Program Grants (Grants) are designed to distribute funds to eligible nonprofit organizations, state entities and community partnerships to increase the availability and accessibility of pre-collegiate and postsecondary student support services and associated programming.

The second round of Community Partner Program Grants will be introduced in three categories:

  • Collective Impact Initiative (CII) grants
    • Three to four awardees will receive grants of $150,000 (+$50,000 required community match), in addition to technical assistance, to implement local collective impact projects aimed at closing the attainment gap.
    • No longer accepting letters of intent. Visit link for complete details.

  • New Partner Program (NPP) grants 
    • New programs seeking assistance are eligible to submit letters of intent for a program grant.
    • Scholarship Initiative staff will notify applicants if they are eligible to submit a full application.
    • Application materials will be released by February 24, 2016.
    • Letter of Intent due March 18, 2016 by 4:00 p.m.
    • Proposals due April 29, 2016 by 4:00 p.m.

  • Legacy Partner Program (LPP) grants
    • 2014 grant recipients are eligible to apply for a second round of funding.
    • Application materials and guidelines will be released by June 1, 2016.

The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to solicit applications in the New Partner Program (NPP) Grant category from eligible nonprofit organizations, state agencies, and community partnerships; funding will be awarded to increase the availability and implementation of effective student support services and associated programming to ensure success for Colorado students in postsecondary education and degree attainment.

Following the rules of the Scholarship Initiative, grant awards are intended to:

  • Promote existing student success programs supporting students in postsecondary degree and certificate completion;
  • Increase the availability of student success programs and infrastructure, particularly in rural and underserved communities; and
  • Align student success best practices throughout the state to ensure that all students have access to services in an equitable way.

What does the Grant Cover?
NPP Grants will be awarded for a two-year term beginning in July 2016. Continued funding will be contingent upon annual appropriations by the State Legislature and any other further discretion at the jurisprudence of the grantor. Funded applicants will be eligible for continued funding in the second year of the grant cycle after successfully demonstrating the following: 

·         Submission of all required evaluation materials;

·         Adequate progress toward successfully meeting annual objectives;

·         Completed annual evaluation report after the first year to demonstrate fidelity to proceed with year two; and

·         Completed budgets and funding amounts for year two.

The funding available for (NPP) Grants in the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 fiscal years is approximately $800,000 annually. Amounts requested might not be the amounts awarded; we ask that proposals submitted be fiscally scalable. 

Eligibility and Rules

These grants will follow the Scholarship Initiative Community Partner Program grant rules and guidelines for eligibility, application and evaluation. Please visit the website here.

Eligible nonprofit organizations, State agencies, and community partnerships are encouraged to apply for this opportunity individually or with partner organizations or education institutions, to increase the availability of student success programs and wrap-around student support services. In cases where organizations will partner, one organization must serve as the lead applicant and fiscal agent on behalf of the partner organization(s). The lead organization and fiscal agent must be a nonprofit or State Agency.

The Scholarship Initiative will grant capacity building awards to existing programs seeking to increase their impact, maintain their current level of service, or improve their quality. Demonstration grants will also be awarded to new initiatives seeking to build a new program where none currently exists. 

Current recipients of the 2014 Community Partner Program grants are not considered new partners, but are eligible to apply for Legacy Partner Program grants. More information and application materials will be published in June 2016.

Awards are intended for nonprofit organizations, State agencies, and community partnerships focused on student success activities and student support services. (Rule 3.02.2)

Priority will be given to community partnerships that focus on developing connections between local employers, public schools, pre-collegiate organizations and postsecondary institutions, as well as those with a sustainable and replicable program model.

Priority will be given to applicants demonstrating high need and serving a high density of their community’s population.

The lead organization must be the fiscal agent and needs to be a State agency or a nonprofit.

At least seventy percent of the Iinitiative’s available grant funds shall be awarded to nongovernmental entities. (Rule 3.02.3)

Eligible programs must focus services on: 

  •  High schools with a high percentage of students who are eligible forFree and Reduced Lunch;
  • Postsecondary students whose household incomes are between 100% and 250% of the maximum permissible income for the purpose of determining eligibility for PELL grants;
  • Postsecondary students who are eligible for Federal PELL grants;
  • Students attending public vocational schools, community colleges, four-year institutions of higher education and research institutions; and/or; 
  • Students participating in an integrated approach that prepares them for success in postsecondary education, addresses affordability and provides additional student supports.

Awardees will be able to use funds for the following:

  • Postsecondary preparatory services;
  • Career and college readiness professionals’ salaries and benefits;
  • Student services that address remediation, graduation, retention, and drop out/stop out prevention;
  • Tuition assistance grants that are proven to be an essential component of an applicant’s comprehensive approach to a student’s postsecondary readiness, access, and completion;
  • Professional development;
  • Program development;
  • Indirect costs (up to 5%);
  • Travel;
  • Equipment (hardware and software); and
  • Consulting services.

    Please note
    : applicants must budget for a team (two at minimum) to attend two, one-day leadership and best-practices symposia during each year of the grant cycle.  Dates and locations will be announced at a later time; however, please plan budgets for a team travel to the Denver metro area once per year.  Regional sessions may also be scheduled.  

Reporting and Evaluation
Proposals will be evaluated based on how grants anticipate improvement in the following areas, as defined by 23-3.3-1001, et. seq., C.R.S.:

-          Reductions in remediation rates and associated costs;

-          Increases in graduation rates;

-          Reductions in average time required to earn a degree;

-          Increases in student retention rates;

-          Reductions in disparities between the academic achievements of certain student populations based on demographic, geographic, and economic indicators;

-          Adoption of best practices for student support services;

-          Implementation of postsecondary and professional competencies;

-          Fulfillment of local workforce needs;

-          Reductions in student loan debt;

-          Improvements in tuition affordability; and

-        Improvements in students’ access to Federal grant programs and other Federal sources of support for postsecondary students.

In addition, the Scholarship Initiative Board will evaluate in accordance with the following supplemental criteria created by Rule 3.03.2, where applicable:

-          Adoption of “Guided Pathways to Success” strategies (e.g., informed choice, no wasted credits, default pathways, intrusive advising, full course loads, available at;

-          Scalability and replicability of program;

-          Affordability and cost of implementation; and

-          Plans for sustainability and institutionalization.

Grant Proposals Review Process and Timeline
The Scholarship Initiative board and staff will review proposals to ensure they contain all components required by the promulgated rules.  




February 24, 2016


Request for Proposals (RFP) published

March 18, 2016


Letter of Intent (LOI) Due

March 25, 2016


LOI notification to all submissions:

-       Approval to participate as an applicant in Phase 2 of the process, OR

-       Transfer to Scholarship Initiative Program Grants


April 29, 2016


Applications due to Colorado Department of Higher Education

April 29 – May 4, 2016


Cross Department Team review & recommend applications to Scholarship Initiative Board of Directors

May 18, 2016


Board of Directors vote on three-four awardees


May 20, 2018


Notification to all applicants:

-      Final applicants selected

-      Non-awardees notified

May 20 - June 30, 2016


Attorney General Agreement Letters

-       Developed, distributed and returned signed

July 2016


Year 1 dollars distributed to awardees

June, July 2017


-       Year 1 report due to Colorado Department of Higher Education

-       Year 2 dollars distributed to awardees

June 2018


Year 2 (final) report due to Colorado Department of Higher Education

All grant applications submitted to the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative and Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) are public records and should not contain any confidential data. CDHE is subject to the Colorado Open Records Act and must release full applications when requested.

Shelley Banker,
Feb 24, 2016, 7:57 AM
Shelley Banker,
Jun 17, 2016, 1:04 PM