Feb 182010
Authors: David Martinez

For the second year in a row, CSU received more than 8,000 applications from Colorado residents and saw 5 percent more freshman applications than it had at the same time last year, according to an enrollment announcement released by the university Wednesday.

CSU waived its $50 application fee for nearly 1,000 applicants this year to help students with financial hardships apply. While the university has always waived the application fee for students who demonstrate financial need, it took special measures this year to make it easier for students to waive the fee.

Students are now asked a series of questions online to help them determine whether they’re eligible for a waived fee.

The process, which was previously handled by high school counselors, was moved online with the increase in the number of high school students handling their own applications –– a trend one university official said reflects a higher level of technical savvy among applicants than in the past. It also comes at a time that more institutions are accepting electronic applications.

Jim Rawlins, the director of Admissions, said between 98 percent and 99 percent of all freshman applications were submitted online last fall.

“As the state’s land-grant institution and one committed to providing access to all students with the desire and qualifications to attend CSU, we have been very pleased to grant fee waivers to 1,000 applicants this year,” Rawlins said in a press release.

Rawlins also said the students who were willing to make the extra effort to have the fee waived were more likely to choose CSU over other universities.

CSU also provides a Land Grant Award to students who received the Pell Grant –– a federal incentive given to students with the greatest financial needs –– to help them cover the remainder of their college expenses. The 2009 freshman class includes 656 Pell-eligible students, the highest number and the highest percentage for a freshman class ever.

The administration hopes for a more diverse freshman class for fall 2010 on account of several programs focused on attracting and assisting more diverse and low-income schools in the Denver area.

One program partnered CSU with 10 Denver high schools, called Alliance schools, to help students find financial aid for college. CSU gives these students campus tours and offers them a $2,500 Land Grant if they commit to the university.

CSU has also partnered with the Denver Scholarship Foundation to match whatever scholarship they give a student with an equal scholarship if the student chooses to attend CSU.

“If you commit to us, we commit to you,” said Robin Brown, vice president of enrollment and access. “If we don’t reach out now, these students will choose to go elsewhere.”

The number of out-of-state student applications CSU received decreased by 6 percent this year, with roughly 6,000 applications received so far.

Rawlins said the decrease in out-of-state applications is caused by cuts to the out-of-state recruitment budget.

Specifically, cuts have been made to brochures and other out-of-state publications as well as out-of-state travel.

In the past, CSU has sent representatives to cities and states around the country to represent the university at college fairs, usually for five or six days at a time. Some of these college fairs charge a $500 fee for a table.

Rawlins said the university has tried to cut back the length of the stay, not the number of locations, included in out-of-state recruitment efforts.

“We had to be more purposeful in cutting back,” Rawlins said. “We’re trying to get more bang for our buck.”
Staff writer David Martinez can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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