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MSU Denver anticipates significant state funding to support adult learners

Faculty and staff members are invited to share ideas and feedback on how to most effectively use the funds to drive student success.

By Lindsey Coulter

July 15, 2021

Graduate on the Commencement receiving line with child.Metropolitan State University of Denver is preparing to submit a proposal for Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative/Finish What You Started/Adult Learner Grant funding, established by Colorado House Bill 21-1330, that is expected to bring the University $3 million to $5 million over the next two years.

Reengaging and reenrolling

Primarily, the bill and funding aim to decrease student debt and increase student enrollment, retention and completion of credentials. It will incentivize students to reenroll and complete postsecondary credentials and degrees while assisting them in completing financial-aid applications. The funds will help to address equity gaps in higher education and the workforce, while also supporting postsecondary enrollment, retention and completion by students of color and low-income students who have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19.

“Faculty and staff across campus already do great work to support students; this funding will allow us to enhance our efforts and find new ways to engage and assist our students as they enroll, retain and graduate,” said Kim VanHoosier-Carey, Ph.D., director of the Center for Individualized Learning, who is co-leading proposal development. “We have a great opportunity to dismantle some of the barriers facing our students, especially those within communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

Priority populations

The program hopes to engage recent high school graduates who took a gap year rather than immediately pursue higher education and to reengage adult learners who have completed some college credits (MSU Denver will focus on the latter population). Support will largely be delivered through scholarships, financial incentives and other direct student aid as well as student-support services and staffing.

“The COSI Finish What You Started Grant provides MSU Denver the opportunity to scale existing successful reengagement and adult-learner pipelines while simultaneously creating new initiatives,” said co-lead Matt Kring, associate director of student support and retention for the Classroom to Career Hub. “Our institution aligns with the mission of this grant to serve all of Colorado and close degree-attainment gaps for high-priority students.”

Call to action

VanHoosier-Carey and Kring hope to gather ideas and input from faculty and staff members across campus, with an aim toward building on existing initiatives and developing sustainable programs and solutions.

To provide insights into completion-barrier and reengagement/retention challenges, share your funding ideas or join the Adult Learner Working Group, please compete this brief survey. The next working-group meeting is Friday, and MSU Denver’s funding proposal is due in early August. Please contact VanHoosier-Carey or Kring for more details.

Topics: Academics, Colorado, Enrollment, Funding, Legislation, Student Success

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