Home Personal Finance Two Years of College Free from Colorado: Gov Signs New Law

Two Years of College Free from Colorado: Gov Signs New Law

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Colorado College students will now get more incentives to complete their higher education. Gov. Jared Polis has signed a new bill that offers two years of college free from Colorado to needy families. The new bill will be effective beginning in the fall of 2024.

Two years of college free from Colorado – who will get it?

On Thursday, Gov. Polis signed new legislation – HB24-1340 – that expands higher educational opportunities, as well as saves students money.  The new bill creates a refundable state income tax credit for low-income families to effectively offer two years of college free from Colorado.

“Two years at any public four-year college, community college, or trade school are now free for more Coloradans!” Gov. Polis said in a statement.

Specifically, the credit will help students cover the gap between scholarships and their remaining tuition and other fees at public four-year colleges, community colleges, or trade schools. Students will get complete reimbursement of any out-of-pocket tuition and fees paid for their education.

To qualify for two years of college free from Colorado, a student must enroll in a state public institution within two years of graduating from a Colorado high school. Also, the annual family income must be $90,000 or less.

Additionally, the student must take at least six credit hours for the semester for which they are claiming the credit and attain at least a 2.5 grade point average. The program will start in the fall of 2024 and will be available through 2032.

With this program, the state aims to increase access to higher education and encourage students to stay in the state. About a quarter of high school graduates went out of state for college in 2020.

On average, the program is estimated to save $2,700 for four-year college students, $2,000 for technical college students and $1,000 for two-year college students.

For the 2025-2026 fiscal year, the program is estimated to cost $37 million. It will be funded using the refund money owed to residents under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), which stipulates the amount of money that the government can retain.

Other bills that the governor signed

In addition to the bill offering two years of college free from Colorado, the governor also signed into law HB24-1305 (Changes for Concurrent Enrollment Students) to expand the state’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech) program.

Currently, the program allows eligible high school students to graduate with an associate’s degree or certificate in certain disciplines. The expansion will increase the allowable disciplines to include technology, engineering and mathematics.

Gov. Polis also signed a few bills to help reduce government red tape and create more housing. The governor signed into law HB24-1107 (Judicial Review of Local Land Use Decision), HB24-1316 (Middle-Income Housing Tax Credit), and HB24-1175 (Local Governments Rights to Property for Affordable Housing).

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Aman Jain
Personal Finance Writer

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