Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Jason Hopfer 303-866-2142
Mark Salley 303-866-6323
The scholarship program is designed to make college a reality for low-income students who work hard academically in high school. The additional funding for the program comes from an expansion of the business arrangement between the state agency College Access Network and Nelnet, Inc. Under this agreement, Nelnet will provide loan servicing and guaranty operations on behalf of the College Access Network. The agreement is valued at $41 million.
Under the terms of the agreement, $14 million must be put aside to meet federal fund obligations. Of the remaining $27 million, $25 million will be placed in the College in Colorado Scholarship program and the additional $2 million will be used for ongoing operations at the College Access Network.
Senator Abel Tapia (D-Pueblo), a sponsor of the legislation to create the College in Colorado trust fund, joined Gov. Owens and O'Donnell, at today's announcement.
"Last year, with the help of Sen. Tapia and Representative Dale Hall, we created a program that will help our most deserving students get the assistance they need to go to college," said Gov. Owens. "This additional funding will allow us serve additional students in this program."
"The agreement between Nelnet and College Access Network is a win-win-win for Colorado," said O'Donnell. "The state wins by getting out of a business that is better run by the private sector, the employees win because no jobs were lost and low-income students win by the additional funding put into the College in Colorado Scholarship."
This additional funding will allow the scholarship program to provide scholarships to another 200 low-income students each year - bringing the yearly total to 575 students. And, importantly, each scholarship covers the student for four years - so that by the fourth year the state will be providing annual aid to 2,300 low income students.
In partnership with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, O'Donnell has directed 20 percent of the trust be earmarked to serve students from Denver Public Schools. This will allow $17 million to be counted toward the mayor's goal of being able to provide a college scholarship for all low-income Denver Public School students.
"We're delighted that the State continues to expand college access for all students," said Mayor Hickenlooper, who during his July 2005 State of the City Address thanked Governor Owens, O'Donnell, and the Colorado Commission for Higher Education for their initial commitment of $12 million for need-based scholarships for Denver students. "This new increase in the State's earmark for Denver gets us one step closer to our goal of ensuring that money is never the reason a Denver student cannot attend college."
Under the terms of the agreement between Nelnet and the College Access Network no Colorado jobs were eliminated. College Access Network is an enterprise division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Over the past 25 years, College Access Network has serviced more than 600,000 students and parents and provides $1.7 billion in annual student loan guarantees.
Nelnet has served the Colorado market for the past 27 years. Nelnet is one of the leading education finance companies in the United States and is focused on providing quality student loan products and services to students and schools nationwide. Nelnet's Denver office currently employees approximately 500 Colorado residents, in addition to the 110 employees that joined Nelnet from the College Access Network.
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