DENVER – Colorado’s community colleges have won a $1 million grant to help bring their students up to speed on college-level academics.
Thirty-three states applied for the grant from Complete College America, and Colorado was one of 10 winners.
Many students are surprised to find out they need remedial coursework after they get into college, said Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia.
“They lose time, they lose money, and too often, they lose heart,” said Garcia, a former college president.
Part of the grant will be used to recommend changes to Colorado’s policies and laws in order to make high school graduates better prepared to go to college.
Complete College America is a national nonprofit focused on increasing the number of college graduates.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided the money for Friday’s grant.
The grant also will fund $300,000 in incentives to community colleges whose students show the most improvement. The winning colleges can use the money to pay for more tutors or other services for remedial students.
Pueblo Community College, which runs Southwest Colorado Community College, is one of the schools participating in the reform effort that won the grant.
Garcia and Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the grant Friday.
In the next decade, 60 percent of the new jobs in Colorado’s economy will require some level of postsecondary education, Hickenlooper said.
“We do have to commit ourselves to increasing the number of college graduates,” he said.
More than half of Colorado’s community college students needed at least one remedial class last school year.
Students who need remediation are about half as likely to get a college degree within six years as students who arrived in college ready for the coursework, according to the Department of Higher Education.