Best Practices for Recruitment, Admission and Retention of DREAMers

By Michael Kutcher, NASFAA U Instructor

In this session, Joe Donlay and Sylvia Martinez discussed how Colorado State University is helping undocumented students with applying for and receiving funding for a postsecondary education. In particular, they discussed Colorado’s ASSET Bill, Colorado’s College Opportunity Fund, and CSU’s partnership with Dream.US. Each of these is designed to make the cost of higher education more affordable for Colorado students.

Under the Colorado ASSET bill, undocumented students may pay in-state tuition at Colorado’s public colleges and universities rather than out-of-state tuition. There are a few requirements, which include: Students must have attended a Colorado high school for three or more years prior to graduation, received their high school diploma or GED on or after September 1, 2013 and have been accepted into a Colorado institution of higher education within twelve months of high school completion or graduation. There were 1,336 students state-wide identified as ASSET students in 2015-16.

Colorado’s College Opportunity Fund (COF) was created by the Colorado Legislature to provide a stipend to eligible undergraduate students who are part of the ASSET program. The COF pays a portion of their total in-state tuition when attending a participating college. The current stipend amounts are $75 per credit hour for public colleges and $38 per credit hour for private colleges. The COF allows students to self-report if they are unidentified and gives colleges the chance to see if they qualify at their institution. Colorado students authorize COF through a centralized portal, which also serves a dual-purpose in identifying ASSET students and communicating details to institutions.

Colorado State University has partnered with, which has helped organize a mentorship program that provides financial and educational support. The goal is to provide resources for undocumented students to take advantage of that can help lead to funding necessary for a postsecondary education. In addition, the university has implemented a health network called RamCare, which is a supplemental health coverage that can pay for $1,500 for medical-related expenses per semester. This can be used in lieu of another form of medical insurance that students are required to have on campus.

Through recruitment efforts, publications and promotional materials in English and in Spanish, presentations and outreach efforts, Colorado State University is making a noteworthy effort to help undocumented students fund their postsecondary education. This is a team effort that has utilized different offices on campus in collaboration with external agencies like Their effort to help undocumented students serves as an example for the good institutions can do for their community in helping some of our nation’s neediest individuals.


Publication Date: 7/12/2016

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