The bill creates the college trust scholarship program (scholarship program) in the department of higher education (department) to disburse scholarship awards to institutions of higher education, as defined in the bill, on behalf of eligible graduates who are awarded a high school diploma from a Colorado public high school prior to enrolling in the fourth year of high school.
The savings to the state due to the student graduating high school early is used for the scholarship award and to add money to the state education fund to eliminate the budget stabilization factor applied to total program funding under the public school finance formula.
The scholarship award is equal to the greater of a portion of the average state share amount of the statewide average per pupil funding for public elementary and secondary schools or $3,000. The scholarship award is disbursed to the postsecondary program on behalf of the eligible graduate and may be used for the eligible graduate's cost of attendance for the postsecondary program, as determined by the department.
An eligible graduate must enroll in a postsecondary program by the eligible graduate's twenty-first birthday or the eligible graduate forfeits the award; except that the department has the ability to waive this requirement in exceptional or unforseen circumstances. An eligible graduate may continue to use any unused portion of the scholarship award until the eligible graduate's twenty-sixth birthday, at which time the unused portion of the scholarship award is forfeited. Forfeited scholarship awards are transferred to the state education fund to be used first to eliminate the budget stabilization factor in the public school finance formula.
The bill requires the department to report annually to certain committees of the general assembly certain information relating to the scholarship program.
The bill creates the college trust scholarship fund and specifies the characteristics of the fund. Interest and income from the fund and any money from forfeited scholarships is transferred to the state education fund.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)