Colorado State University System and College Track Announce Groundbreaking Partnership to Increase Educational Equity
The CSU System and College Track will work together to offer opportunities for more students from underserved communities to be the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree, starting with opening a new College Track center at CSU Spur in Denver
DENVER (Dec. 1): The complicated, urgent issues confronting humanity, such as climate change and the spread of infectious diseases, demand a more diverse set of skilled problem solvers than ever before. The Colorado State University System and College Track are proud to announce an innovative, intentional new partnership to increase the number of first-generation college graduates from underserved communities.
“This partnership establishes a new model for supporting students and introducing them to a range of academic and career possibilities.”
—Tony Frank, Chancellor, CSU System
In 1984, the CSU System’s flagship campus became the first university in the nation to offer scholarships specifically for first-generation students, and for decades, 20-25% of CSU students have been the first in their families to earn college degrees. The CSU System’s mission of providing access to educational excellence extends across its three campuses and can be traced to the founding in 1870 of CSU as one of the country’s land-grant universities.
Founded in East Palo Alto, CA, in 1997, the comprehensive college-completion nonprofit College Track’s mission is to democratize potential by equipping students confronting systemic barriers to earn a bachelor’s degree in pursuit of a life of opportunity, choice, and power.
The partnership is College Track’s first system-wide collaboration. Key elements of the partnership include:
- Dedicated on-campus space: A College Track student center at CSU Spur—College Track’s first-ever location on a higher-education campus. CSU Spur is the System’s new, year-round campus in Denver focused on engaging PreK-12 students, families, and other visitors in research and activities centered on food, water, and health. This new center will create an affirming space for College Track’s Denver-area high-school scholars to prepare themselves academically and socio-emotionally to apply to colleges, plus a home base from which to explore different majors and career paths. For future College Track-CSU cohorts, it will provide a haven for building relationships with their first-gen classmates, meeting with their college success advisers, and more.
- Designated co-leadership: To indicate the importance of the partnership to both organizations, a CSU cabinet-level leader will work with College Track Chief of Education Rosanna Ferro, Ed.D., to ensure the success of scholars.
- Cohort-based admissions: The CSU System will guarantee admissions for at least 25 Colorado-based College Track scholars every year. These cohorts will benefit from peer-to-peer support and dedicated College Track and CSU System staff.
- Financial commitment: To underscore its belief in the urgent need for these scholars, the CSU System will offer financial support to the CSU-CT cohort. In recognition of the 10-year investment that College Track makes in its scholars, the CSU System also will offset College Track’s administrative fees.
“This partnership establishes a new model for supporting students and introducing them to a range of academic and career possibilities,” said Tony Frank, D.V.M., Ph.D., Chancellor of the CSU System. “The three campuses in the CSU System share with College Track a deep commitment to increasing access and opportunity for students, regardless of their backgrounds. The work we will be doing together will lead to significant benefits, both in the lives of students and their families, and in the strength of our communities.”
“There is much to celebrate about this groundbreaking agreement and how it provides a concrete, real-time example of the expansive, innovative partnerships that are necessary for our colleges and universities to truly serve students from all walks of life,” said Shirley M. Collado, Ph.D., President & CEO of College Track. “First-generation college students face tremendous barriers to their success—barriers College Track and the CSU System have candidly and meticulously identified and addressed in this collaborative approach. I’m thrilled that this partnership will enable our scholars to experience the promise of a university environment that welcomes and affirms them.”
“First-generation college students face tremendous barriers to their success—barriers College Track and the CSU System have candidly and meticulously identified and addressed in this collaborative approach. I’m thrilled that this partnership will enable our scholars to experience the promise of a university environment that welcomes and affirms them.”
—Dr. Shirley M. Collado, College Track CEO & President
Across the country, College Track scholars have graduated from or are currently attending 277 colleges and universities in 36 states. CSU schools have long been a favorite destination: 13 College Track alumni attended CSU Fort Collins and 24 are currently enrolled there, with another four at CSU Pueblo and one at CSU Global. In Colorado, College Track serves just over 250 high school students, approximately 50 in Denver and 200 in Aurora. The new partnership means that College Track’s Denver scholars will move to CSU Spur in summer 2023 for their after-school programming; Aurora students will join them for special workshops and events.
“Relocating our operations to the CSU Spur campus represents a major leap forward for College Track Denver staff and for our scholars,” said Deborah Van Roy, Ed.D., College Track’s Denver Site Director. “The new location will provide a welcoming environment in a forward-thinking university setting that already prioritizes representation and diversity. It will bolster our students’ potential, familiarize them with college culture, and allow them to engage in hands-on education that will spark interest in myriad new areas of study and professions.”
“This system-wide partnership with College Track will not only provide holistic support and college access to more students from Denver and Aurora schools, but it will empower the students to be the well-rounded, intellectually curious, and academically prepared leaders of the future,” said Roze Hentschell, Ph.D., Interim Chief Academic Officer for the CSU System. “The presence of the College Track Scholars on our campuses and in our classrooms enriches us all and we cannot wait to learn from them.”
About the Colorado State University System and CSU Spur
CSU Spur is a new, free educational year-round public life-long learning destination in Denver focused on engaging PreK-12 students, families, and visitors around food, water, and health. CSU Spur showcases the work of the CSU System campuses: CSU, CSU Pueblo, and CSU Global, and offers degree programs that originate from the campus offerings. Spur is built upon the land-grant mission of access to education and the belief that students can be anything they want to be. To inspire learners of all ages to engage in important world issues, CSU Spur brings together scientists to collaborate, puts science on-display, and showcases career paths. The CSU Spur campus provides immersive learning experiences and cutting-edge research across three buildings: Vida, Terra, and Hydro. Learn more at CSUSpur.org
About College Track
College Track’s mission is to democratize potential by equipping students confronting systemic barriers to earn a bachelor’s degree in pursuit of a life of opportunity, choice, and power. College Track serves nearly 3,500 students in 12 centers located in California, Colorado, Louisiana, and the D.C. Metro Area, with more than 1,100 alumni across America. Ninety percent of College Track scholars are first-generation college students, and 84 percent are from underserved communities. They earn their bachelor’s degrees at more than two and a half times the rate of their first-generation peers.
- Bonnie Powell, Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 510-409-4776
- Tiana Kennedy, Associate Vice Chancellor, External Relations, CSU System, Tiana.Kennedy@colostate.edu, 970-420-3316
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