State financial aid extended to undocumented students

Undocumented students at Fort Lewis College now have access to Colorado financial aid. A bill signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis extends certain financial assistance programs for in-state students offered by the Department of Higher Education to undocumented students living in Colorado. 

Undocumented students cannot get federal aid, so options for financial assistance have been limited to private and institutional aid. Now, eligible undocumented students in Colorado can also have the option of applying for state aid. Gov. Polis signed HB19-1196 into law in May. 

“With this bill, Colorado is helping undocumented students realize their full potential. At Fort Lewis College, they’ll have not only affordable access to higher education, but a lifetime of success,” says President Tom Stritikus.

The Advancing Students for a Strong Tomorrow (ASSET) law, signed in 2013, already allows eligible undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at Colorado’s public colleges and universities. ASSET students will now also be considered for need-based, merit, and work-study grants. Colorado financial aid is a $160 million-dollar fund allocated to institutions across the state.

ASSET students at FLC can also access institutional need-based aid and the First Generation Scholarship if applicable, in addition to state aid.

“The passing of HB19-1196 will allow Fort Lewis College to provide a financial lifeline to students who may not have had many other options for financial aid,” says Crystal Fankhauser, Associate Director of Financial Aid. “As a small, rural institution we are always grateful for new sources of funding for our students.”

For a student who does not have lawful immigration status to be eligible for ASSET and state aid, they must have: 

  • attended high school in Colorado for at least three years before graduating or before successfully completing a high school equivalency examination, 
  • must be admitted to a qualifying institution of higher education within 12 months after high school graduation,
  • and have submitted an affidavit stating that the student has applied for lawful presence or will apply as soon as they are eligible.

The ASSET Student Aid Application for Fort Lewis College students, in English and Spanish, is available at www.fortlewis.edu/financialaid. Prospective students with questions about the ASSET Student Aid Application can contact the Financial Aid Office at 970-247-7142.