Article by Garrett Carroll

Adams State University was awarded Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) grants, “Back to Work” and “Finish What you Started,” in 2021. Launched on June 6, 2014, COSI was created to address a dilemma in Colorado. Many credentialed adults with college degrees moved from out-of-state, instead of seeing growth from an educated, homegrown workforce.

To address this issue, COSI awarded $47 million in state funds, $28 million in local and private dollars, and has helped more than 75,000 students in 61 of 64 Colorado counties, in the first five years. Since the launch of the initiative, these grants have continued to help students through financial programs.

COSI launched both the “Back to Work” program and the “Finish What you Started” program to help adult students finish their studies. Coloradans who struggled through the pandemic, whether through a significant drop in income and/or job loss, received funding based on student needs, owed balances, and the amount of financial aid received.

In the modern workplace, education and increasing one’s skillset are essential to continued success, and the “Back to Work” program allows students to continue working towards goals, both educationally and professionally. “Back to Work” helps students looking to receive additional education, another degree, or upscaling their professional skills.

Since the passage of SB 21-232, a total of $15 million in grant funds have been allocated toward the “Back to Work” program. The grant helps many Colorado residents, including those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, lay-offs or furloughs, decreased earnings or rescinded job offers, or the inability to enter the workforce due to difficult economic conditions.

Eligibility for “Back to Work” requires students to pursue an undergraduate certificate or degree, 0-250 percent of Pell eligibility, complete the COSI back to school participant survey, and to seek credentials or degrees aligned with Colorado Top Job. Students must be new, reengaged, or currently enrolled students.

The pandemic had significant adverse effects on many student’s college studies. In response, “Finish What You Started” is a program created in 2021 to assist those who were enrolled just prior to COVID19, yet were unable to return and finish their degree. The program is geared towards helping students finish the degree they started if they had applied during the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 semesters.

To be eligible for “Finish What you Started,” students must be pursuing their first higher education certificate or degree; plan to enroll at a Colorado public college or university. In-state, first time students admitted to a Colorado public institution of higher education as a student for the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 academic year but did not enroll are also eligible.

To apply for either of these programs, contact Korry Goldstein at or 719-587-7061, or Chayne Boutillette at or 719-587-7062.