Before you get to college, this is one test you'll want to pass: knowing about and applying for all the sources of financial aid available to you.
Colorado Mountain College can help. The college's financial aid office is well-versed in assisting new students to navigate through the financial aid process. First, they'll help you understand the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which determines whether you qualify for federal scholarships, grants and loans.
Once you've completed the FAFSA, you can look for private scholarships locally, nationally and at the college you want to attend. For example, the CMC Foundation has more than 140 different types of privately funded scholarships for our students.
Some scholarships, such as the Bank of the West and Centennial Bank Scholarships, are only available to students attending CMC in Breckenridge. The FirstBank First in Family scholarship is for first-generation students - those who are the first in their family to go to college - attending CMC locations in Breckenridge, Dillon, Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Edwards.
There are many new CMC scholarships for Summit County students. One is the Wurster Endowment Scholarship for degree-seeking students with an interest in entrepreneurship. Or, associate-degree seekers can apply for the Follett Endowed Scholarship geared toward first-generation students, the Marge and Jerry Gavenda Scholarship for nontraditional-aged students, the Arapahoe Basin Scholarship with preference to applicants with family work history in the ski industry, or the Copper Mountain Resort Scholarship which gives first preference to students pursuing an associate degree in culinary arts or ski area operations, or those with personal or family history in the ski industry.
Students pursuing a bachelor's degree in sustainability studies may be eligible for the Vail Resorts and Gallagher Scholarships. The Alpine Bank Four-Year Scholarship is for students committed to earning a bachelor's degree in business. For students accepted into the college's nursing program, an associate degree, the High Country Health Care Scholarship or Pat Thomas Nursing Scholarship may be available.
Many of these scholarships are available because of the CMC Foundation's $1 million HERO Scholarship Campaign, the first of its kind for the college's locations in Dillon and Breckenridge. The campaign came on the heels of the successful $1.75 million capital campaign for our building in Breckenridge, which concluded in fall 2010 with a gift from Eileen and Paul Finkel to name the auditorium there.
Joe Yob, current chair of the CMC Foundation Board, and his wife Joyce were the first major donors to this scholarship campaign, making an initial six-figure commitment. The CMC Foundation has since raised more than $750,000 in additional scholarship funds and now is within $125,000 of reaching the HERO campaign goal by June 30.
Many scholarships require a minimum grade point average. Some are specific to an area of study or degree, such as nursing, science or business; these require a student to be enrolled or to declare a particular major. There are also a few scholarships directed toward students who have earned a general educational development (GED) diploma and are attending Colorado Mountain College to earn an associate degree or vocational certification.
Since the intent of most scholarship donors is to see a recipient get a degree or vocational certificate, most of our foundation scholarships require a student to declare their intent to earn a degree or complete a vocational program.
Our scholarship process is under way; the deadline to apply for most is March 15. The deadline for nursing scholarships is May 7.
You can find a list of scholarships and the application at www.col
To find out more about financial aid or scholarships, please contact CMC's Summit County financial aid specialist, Pam Flippin, at (719) 486-4293 (Leadville).
Carol Efting is the scholarship coordinator at the CMC Foundation. She can be reached at (970) 947-8355 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Spanish speakers can call 1-800-922-1205 for more information.