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Financial Aid and FAFSA/CASFA Completion
About the new PWR, Career, and Education Grant
HB22-1366 establishes “the postsecondary, workforce, career, and education grant program in the department of education (CDE):
- to provide grants to local education providers:
- to improve the training of school educators and administrators;
- to support students and families in developing career and education plans for after high school; and
- to increase the number of students for whom applications for free financial aid are completed.”
Funding requests will be accepted for $1,000 - $15,000 per year ($2,000 - $30,000 over two years), and funds must be spent by June 30, 2025.
Third Round - Application reopened May 22, 2023 (CLOSED September 1, 2023) Note: Timeline adjustments for Round 3 are updated below.
- May 22: Grant application reopens
- May 22 - Sept 1: Review application assistance webinar: recording and slides
- Sept 1: Applications DUE
- Sept 5-13: Grants team processes applications, completes applicant follow-up. Staff reviews and scores applications
- Sept 26: Applicants will be notified of award status. Grants fiscal team reviews budgets, communicates with applicants
- Sept 29: Revisions due
- Oct: Grant Award Letters released
- Application in Word version (for reference only; apply via the Smartsheet version) You can print the Assurances form on page 9 of the the Word version, scan, and upload it into your application.
- Budget workbook (to be submitted with Smartsheet application above) a.k.a. the AFR
- Access your district or school FAFSA completion rate through the Colorado Department of Higher Education website
Reporting and AFR process:
The Final Expenditure Report (AFR) must be submitted to both the CDE Program and Fiscal Contact no later than September 1, 2023, and on or before September 1 each year thereafter for the length of the grant. A general ledger must be included with the Final Expenditure Report. All AFR’s should be submitted through the Smartsheet application on the CDE Grants Fiscal page.
Please submit above financial reports and documents in the following Smartsheet usingas the State Grant:
- End of Year (EOY) for round 1 and 2 was due by 8/18. Please contact Carlos Lopez firstname.lastname@example.org if you still need to submit for 2023.
Other supports provided by HB22-1366:
- Access FAFSA/CASFA trainings around the state, brought to you from the Colorado Department of Higher Education and CDE
- Look for an updated Financial Aid Tool Kit (Link coming soon)
- Connect with the Regional ICAP Facilitators
- Check your school's completion rate here
- Review a sample program checklist here
Education and training that culminates in credentials - such as industry certificates, trade school certificates, apprenticeships, associate degrees, and bachelor's degrees, among other business and industry-based experiences - are necessary to earn a living wage in Colorado. Completion of federal or state financial aid applications supports access to these career pathway options, as they are vehicles to support paying for tuition, fees, equipment, and other expenses associated with additional training beyond high school.
Understanding how to access these career-aligned resources and supports is integral to navigating training and education resources for students and families. Financial literacy education and Colorado's Individual Career and Academic Planning (ICAP) process can help families understand how to obtain federal or state financial aid to support students in pursuing additional education and career training.
Students and families who do not complete financial aid forms do so for one or more of the following reasons:
- They are unaware of the true cost of postsecondary options and are unaccustomed to searching for available resources;
- They have a false belief that grants or scholarships are unavailable based on family resources and income levels;
- Students and families often do not realize they have the required tax information necessary to complete the forms;
- They fear incurring debt for postsecondary education.
Completing federal and state financial aid applications requires support to students and their families, from K-12 college and career readiness programs, and higher education institutions for academic and workforce training.
- When Colorado students access federal dollars to pursue postsecondary education and/or a credential, they increase their earning potential and magnify the impact of state investments in higher education. It is estimated that more than $30 million in federal resources could be leveraged each year by Colorado students completing federal and state financial aid applications.
- In 2024, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be simplified, reducing the number of questions from 100 to 30 and reducing the financial information needed through the federal "FAFSA Simplification Act";