CSU–Pueblo to offer tuition incentive for four-year graduates

Colorado students who begin at Colorado State University – Pueblo in the fall of 2007 and graduate in four years could receive more than just a diploma when they cross the stage. CSU-Pueblo students can enter a contract which could reward them with an incentive check of up to $1500 if they graduate in four years. The Graduate Incentive Plan was approved by the Colorado State University System Board of Governors at its February meeting.

The idea originally was conceived by CSU System Governor Joe Blake who suggested an “outside the box” plan to increase enrollment, retention, and graduation by offering a tuition incentive to students who graduate within four years. The CSU-Pueblo offer will apply to Colorado resident students who begin as full-time students at CSU-Pueblo in the fall of 2007.

After analysis of the University’s demographics and the resulting financial ramifications, CSU-Pueblo crafted a plan that will offer students who graduate within four years the entire “student share” of their last semester’s tuition up to $1,500 as an incentive. This plan requires that students declare a major and sign an agreement upon entering CSU-Pueblo, complete a minimum of 120 hours of CSU-Pueblo coursework, and fulfill all graduation requirements within four years of matriculation.

According to President Joseph Garcia, the incentive is but one part of a larger plan to help the University reach its stretch goals of increasing enrollment, retention, and graduation rates by (1) attracting attention to CSU-Pueblo as an innovative university; (2) attracting students who might otherwise consider CSU-Pueblo their second or even third choice; (3) decreasing the number of students who transfer from CSU-Pueblo to other four-year colleges or universities; and (4) providing a benefit for students who complete their degrees in a timely manner.

“The incentive plan is a viable venture not just because of the increased visibility and revenue it may produce for the school, but more significantly, because of the proposed increase in retention and graduation rates,” Garcia said. “The higher the rates, the better this institution will be utilizing its resources and the more effectively it will be serving the citizens of Colorado.”

In creating the plan, the University took into account lost tuition revenue from students who would normally take five or even six years to graduate, likely decreases in the number of students who transfer from CSU-Pueblo but graduate from another public institution in Colorado, and potential increases in both retention and graduation among students who “stop out” or take less than full-time loads each term.

The primary benefit will be in retention: The University expects that approximately half of the students who start at CSU-Pueblo but graduate from other Colorado institutions with five years will have incentive to remain at CSU-Pueblo. This will result in a higher four-year graduation rate, which is one of the University’s key strategic objectives.

Garcia said the amount of the actual check will depend on several factors. Students will receive a refund regardless of whether their tuition is covered by scholarships, grants, or loans, but the refund will be less any unpaid tuition, fees, parking tickets, room and board, or library fines that will be deducted from the incentive check. Students with loans may choose to apply the refund to those loans, but the choice is theirs.

Students must declare a major upon enrollment, follow their advisors’ recommendations for coursework, pass courses with the appropriate grades required by your major or as pre-requisites, maintain a grade-point-average sufficient to graduate in their major, take and pass at least 30 credits of appropriate courses each year to stay on track, and take summer courses if necessary to make up deficiencies or low grades.

A sample of the tuition rebate contract is available at www.colostate-pueblo.edu/incentive/ or call an admissions representative for more information, 719-549-2461.

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.