Sponsors Senate: Heath
Sponsors House: None
The bill creates the awarding Colorado’s excellent scholars (ACES) program to provide scholarships to the 3 students in each public high school each year who graduate with the highest grade point averages (GPAs) in their graduating class. The ACES program starts in the 2015-16 school year, awarding scholarships to students in the high school graduating class of 2014-15. The commission on higher education (commission) must adopt guidelines for the ACES program, and the department of higher education (department) must implement the program. To be eligible for an ACES scholarship, a student must:
! Graduate from a Colorado high school;
! Achieve one of the 3 highest GPAs within the student’s high school graduating class, which GPA must be at least 3.0; and
! Enroll in and attend a public institution of higher education in Colorado (higher education institution) starting the fall semester immediately following high school graduation.
Each school district and the state charter school institute (institute) must annually provide to the department the names of and contact information for the students who qualify for an ACES scholarship. If, because of a tie, more than 3 students from a high school qualify, the superintendent of the school district, or, for a charter high school, the principal of the school, will decide from among the eligible students which students’ information to submit for the ACES scholarship.
A student who receives an ACES scholarship (ACES scholar) is eligible to continue receiving the scholarship so long as he or she is enrolled in and attending a higher education institution for at least 15 credit hours per semester and maintaining a GPA of at least 3.0. An ACES scholar may receive the scholarship for 4 consecutive academic years or until he or she attains a baccalaureate degree, whichever occurs first. An ACES scholar may apply to the department for a suspension of the ACES scholarship, which the department may grant based on its
determination of the legitimacy of the student’s need for a suspension. But an ACES scholar may not receive the scholarship moneys for more than the equivalent of 8 semesters. The annual amount of the scholarship is
equal to the ACES scholar’s student share of in-state tuition. ACES scholars are also eligible to receive the
Colorado opportunity fund stipends. Eligibility for and receipt of an ACES scholarship does not alone affect a student’s eligibility for enrollment in a higher education institution.
The department must annually publicize the ACES program to the school districts and the institute and on
the department’s web site. Each school district and the institute must provide information concerning the
ACES program to the students enrolled in the public schools.