Aurora Public Schools’ Innovative Partnership Makes College Affordable or Free for Hundreds

APS and CSU-Global Groundbreaking

APS and Colorado State University-Global Campus recently broke ground on their innovative partnership. It will help eliminate barriers and increase access to postsecondary opportunities for APS students, graduates and staff.

CSU-Global is a regionally accredited university that is completely online and designed for working adults. The university offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as certificate and continuing education opportunities.

In 2016, Aurora voters approved a bond measure to help fund construction of a new headquarters for CSU-Global. In turn, APS will receive scholarships and significantly discounted tuition rates as in-kind lease payments from CSU-Global. The new headquarters is expected to open in the fall of 2019.

The significantly discounted tuition rates (between 24-33 percent off) are universal and unlimited for APS graduates and staff members. In addition to these discounts, a scholarship program is being developed that could make college free for hundreds of APS students. The scholarship program will launch when the new headquarters opens next year.

This ambitious partnership is part of APS’ commitment to transforming college and career success culture. In fact, over the past five years, the district has increased graduation rates by 15 percent and cut its dropout rate in half. The district has also made notable gains in student growth and achievement.

“We are a district of momentum, opportunity and impact,” said Superintendent Rico Munn. “As part of our strategic plan, APS 2020, one of our goals is for every student to earn credentials that open doors. This revolutionary partnership will allow more students than ever to earn credentials that they may have considered out of reach.”

On average, the annual undergraduate tuition at an accredited four-year university costs more than $13,000 in Colorado. If an APS student uses the discount provided through this partnership and a Federal Pell Grant, annual tuition would cost less than one-fourth of that amount (about $2,800 per year). In addition, with the APS scholarship opportunity, hundreds of students could earn their college degrees for free.

Both APS graduates and staff members are already excitedly taking advantage of the deep discounts and convenient online programs. APS school counselor, Erin Graves, is pursuing a certificate in Educational Leadership thanks to the affordable option. Graves is the mother of two young children and she said she would have never been able to afford classes or make time without the flexibility of an online option.

“I am so excited to continue my education and expand my professional development thanks to this partnership,” said Graves. “APS is a school district that thinks outside the box and works tirelessly to do what is best for students, staff and families.”

 

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