Governor Polis Announces Colorado Free Application Days

Friday, October 8, 2021

Institutions received nearly 57,000 applications in last year’s campaign   

DENVER- To  encourage  more Coloradans to continue their education,  Governor Jared Polis  announced  today  that  all 32 public colleges and universities in Colorado, as well as several private institutions will allow students to apply for free from Tuesday, Oct. 19 through Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021  as part of  the  fourth  annual  Colorado Free Application Days.  

“Earning a certificate or degree gives Coloradans the best opportunity to thrive in the profession of their choice,” said Gov. Polis. “Colorado is building back stronger and by eliminating this cost barrier, more Coloradans will have the opportunity to pursue those dreams. We need homegrown Colorado talent and bold ideas to make Colorado better than ever.”   

View Gov. Polis’ announcement in English and Spanish.  

The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) has posted admissions application and fee waiver information in English and Spanish for each participating college and university.  The period caps off Colorado Applies Month, a five-week, statewide campaign that encourages high school juniors, seniors,  and adults to  select  an education or training option that’s best for them and apply to that program. This year the program has been extended from one day to three days.   

“By extending Colorado Free Application Day to Colorado Free Application Days, we’re giving students even more time to pick their path and make a difference in their future,” said Dr. Angie Paccione, Executive Director of CDHE. “With so many options available, whether you go to college, technical school, attend a university, become an apprentice, or join the military, there’s a program in Colorado that will unlock your potential.”   

The statewide push is designed to increase Colorado’s postsecondary-going and Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)  completion rates. Despite being one of the most educated states in the country,  Colorado sends 56%  of  its  high school seniors to a college, university or certificate program, and  roughly 50%  of students submit a FAFSA application — a major source of financial aid and a key indicator of student success.   

During last year’s campaign, students turned in nearly 57,000 applications,  nearly half of which  came  from  students of color and a third of which came  from  first-generation students.  Statewide, 2020  application submissions were up  23%  compared to  2019.    

Colorado Free Application Day aims to improve access to further education and training, which is becoming increasingly critical for Colorado’s economy and workforce amidst the global pandemic. Research from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce shows that nearly 75% of jobs in Colorado require some education beyond high school, yet only 61% of the adult population in Colorado has earned a degree or certificate.  

In response to these workforce demands, the Colorado Department of Higher Education set a goal of reaching 66%  attainment by 2025 in the statewide plan for higher education, Colorado Rises. Increasing postsecondary enrollment and reducing equity gaps - the racial disparities in educational attainment - are priority strategies to  improve access  and  reduce costs  for Coloradans.    

For more information, visit the  Colorado Free Application Day  and  Colorado Applies  Month webpages.