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Mayor John Hickenlooper Launches CollegeInvest ProgramMayor John Hickenlooper launches $1,500 student loan forgiveness program for Denver students who earn a college degree.
(DENVER) For Denver’s high school seniors, the costs associated with earning a college degree are now looking a little less daunting. Mayor John Hickenlooper joined CollegeInvest on Tuesday to launch the CollegeInvest Mile High GRADS (Graduate Rebate Award for Denver Students) Program, funded through the use of the City’s private activity bond allocation.
CollegeInvest Mile High GRADS is a groundbreaking student loan forgiveness plan meant to not only encourage Denver students to seek a college degree, but also make the price tag on earning that degree more affordable.
The first of its kind in the country, the CollegeInvest Mile High GRADS program offers Denver Public Schools graduates (or any student who is a resident of Denver and earns the equivalent of a high school diploma) up to $1,500 in student loan forgiveness upon their completion of a college degree. From a graduate’s perspective, $1,500 is equivalent to approximately 14 months worth of student loan payments.
“Investing in educational opportunities for our youth yields more returns than any other investment our community can make,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper. “The City and County of Denver is proud to partner with CollegeInvest to help make higher education more affordable for Denver students. At no financial risk to the City, we are able to help finance a better future for Denver students, hopefully increasing the number that attend and graduate from college.”
A clear sign of the City’s commitment to the future of Denver’s students, the CollegeInvest Mile High GRADS Program will not only reduce the principle on student loans, but also help to address one of the challenges that Colorado currently faces regarding higher education, often referred to as the “Colorado Paradox.” While Colorado ranks as one of the most highly educated states in the U.S. due to college graduates who move here post graduation, only 37 percent of our own young people actually go on to college by their 19th birthday.
“Given that Colorado’s population is one of the most highly educated states in the union, it is striking that only a little more than a third of Colorado kids go on to college,” said Debra L. Demuth, director of CollegeInvest. “It is our hope that the Mile High GRADS Program helps to turn the tide on this statistic and push even more Denver students to consider higher education a future option.”
To participate in the CollegeInvest Mile High GRADS Program, students must graduate between 2005 and 2009, meet the admission requirements of their chosen higher education institution, be eligible for federal financial aid and attend classes at least part-time. Additionally, students must select CollegeInvest as their Stafford loan lender and earn their vocational certificate or associate’s degree within four years or their bachelor’s degree within six years of starting the program.
Through the CollegeInvest Mile High GRADS Program, the City and County of Denver and CollegeInvest have established a positive way to encourage our students to further their education beyond 12th grade. By offering loan forgiveness, the City is in effect providing college students who seek and complete their degree a “graduation gift,” thus confirming its investment in both Denver’s kids and our future.
CollegeInvest is a not-for-profit division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education that helps Colorado families break down the financial barriers to college. Since 1979, CollegeInvest has helped more than 500,000 families pay for college through student loans, college savings plans and information and planning tools.
For more information on the Mile High GRADS Program, visit www.collegeinvest.org/GRADS or call 1-800-COLLEGE (1-800-265-5343).