New portal allows Colorado ASSET students to apply for state financial aid

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DENVER – Oct. 1, 2020: The Colorado Department of Higher Education today announced a new online application that allows Colorado students that have historically not qualified for federal aid, to complete an application for state financial aid. The Colorado Application for State Financial Aid (CASFA) opens today and is available here.

“CASFA positively supports families and is a logical next step in efforts to erase equity gaps and put college in reach for the families who benefit most from a postsecondary education,” said Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. “This is one example of how Colorado demonstrates its commitment to educating all of our students on their academic journey.”

In 2019, the General Assembly passed H.B. 19-1196, Financial Aid For Students With In-state Tuition, which allows state-funded financial aid to be awarded to students who do not have lawful immigration status but have resided in the state for at least three years before graduating from a Colorado high school or passing a high school equivalency exam, and admitted to a participating college within 12 months of graduating high school. They must also sign an affidavit affirming that they are seeking or will seek legal status as soon as they’re eligible. These students are historically called ASSET students after Senate Bill 13-033, Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow. 

“Every student deserves access to a postsecondary education,” said Colorado Senator Dominick Moreno. “Many of my constituents work multiple jobs or have to take time off from school due to lack of access to financial aid. The CASFA helps all students access the state or institutional support they need to complete their education. I was proud to sponsor this legislation for the many Coloradans who have worked hard to pursue their educational goals.”

Non-U.S. citizen resident and non-resident students can complete the CASFA to determine their eligibility for institutional aid, as well as state-funded financial aid if they are also ASSET students. Institutional and state-funded financial aid, including grants and work study funds, help open doors to higher education for students who have attended high school in Colorado but who are not eligible for federal financial aid.

The CASFA follows the same methodology for determining the Expected Family Contribution as exists in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and aligns with the FAFSA open and close date— a 21-month application cycle that begins on October 1, nine months before the start of the award year, and ends on June 30, the last day of the award year.

Students eligible for Title IV financial aid should complete the FAFSA and not complete the CASFA. 

More information on the CASFA can be found here: https://highered.colorado.gov/casfa.  

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