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Publish Date: 4/19/2005

College students urged to use fund
Stipend will help lower tuition bills


LONGMONT — Officials at Front Range Community College are tantalizing students with candy bars and drawings for gift certificates in order to get them to sign up for state money to save them $80 per credit hour on tuition bills.

While it may seem an easy task to persuade people to save themselves money, college officials are finding it a challenge.

The state is allocating higher education dollars to individual institutions beginning this fall through a program called the College Opportunity Fund.

Students must sign up to the fund in order to have money sent to their college or university on their behalf. If they don’t register with the fund, students will see a considerable difference once the tuition bills come due.

Kris Binard, dean of student services at Front Range Community College, said the tuition-bill savings is the point officials are trying to drive home in order to avoid surprises later.

“If you are a resident student right now for fall, it is showing with tuition and fees you would pay $169.45 per credit hour without COF,” she said, noting that simply registering for the state money will save students $79.83 per credit hour.

“It also only applies to resident students,” she said.

Front Range has an informational table set up and is giving candy bars to students who register, which can be done online.

Binard said the college is also trying to let students know that the savings amount to $80 per credit hour, so they are offering a drawing for an $80 gift certificate to the college bookstore.

“We also know that a lot of our students have not signed up for COF so we wanted to do a last minute blitz,” Binard said.

FRCC spokesman John Poynton last week put it simply, “Tuition will automatically go up for students that do not register,” he said in an e-mail to the Times-Call.

Binard said students should be registered for COF before they start signing up for fall classes next week. But, if they don’t make that deadline they must be signed up by the first day of classes or the higher bill will stick for the semester.

Jeannine Malmsbury, spokeswoman for the University of Colorado at Boulder, said she believed the university’s efforts to get the word out to its students was fairly successful.

“It has gotten to be pretty good,” she said. “For a while they were worried about it.”

By the end of March about 65 percent of students at CU’s Boulder campus had registered for the tuition program.

Students need only to sign up for the program once. Online registration is available at https://cof.college-access.net/cofapp/index.jsp and applications are available in English and in Spanish.

The fall 2005 semester is the first time the state will allocate higher education funds for the student registration process.

Pierrette J. Shields can be reached at 303-684-5273, or by e-mail at pshields@times-call.com.

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