By Chris Casey | University Communications
DENVER - Paula Gallegos, a CU Succeed lecturer and counselor in Denver Public Schools, continuously suggests the University of Colorado Denver as a destination for high school students. Now, thanks to a new scholarship, she can entice students more easily to the urban campus.
A commitment of $100,000 from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will enable CU Succeed to offer $1,500 to CU Succeed Program students in their first year of enrollment at CU Denver.
"I counsel kids all day long on college," said Gallegos, a college readiness coordinator at Abraham Lincoln High School. "I sell CU Denver constantly, but I've never been able to say, 'Here, you can get $1,500 with this (scholarship).'"
CU Denver is the clear fit for many of these students, according to Gallegos, but they often end up enrolling at another university because a scholarship was offered.
"There really was never much enticement to come to CU Denver, and this helps a lot," Gallegos said.
Dan Howard, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, agrees. "CU Succeed students are clearly a group of students we would like to recruit to CU Denver. These are good students, who have demonstrated an interest in doing college-level work," Howard said. "The scholarship money is being generated by the CU Succeed Program and this strikes everyone associated with the Program as a good investment."
Jason Robinson, associate director of CU Succeed Programs, said the scholarships will help the university get students here and, ultimately, keep them here.
"Dan (Howard, CLAS dean) and CLAS are really committed to seeing this work and getting kids on campus," Robinson said. "We think this scholarship will do it."
CU Succeed collaborates with more than 90 high schools in Colorado by offering college-credit courses. Credits are directly transferrable to CU Denver and recorded on an official university transcript.
Robinson said the ultimate goal is to offer four-year scholarships in larger amounts. He noted that metro-area graduates, in particular, often end up transferring to CU Denver after finding that colleges outside the metro area don't suit them.
"I think in the future we'll target those kids who went somewhere else and then came back," he said. "This is the first year, so it will grow and it will morph into what we need it to be."
Fatimah Ben-Masaud, CU Succeed program coordinator, noted that more than 50 students will likely take advantage of the scholarships in the first year. The students need not be CLAS majors to be eligible. "It's not just for CLAS outreach; it's university-wide," she said.
Gallegos, who studied the post-secondary education patterns of Latinos for her doctorate in Education Leadership and Innovation at CU Denver, is excited to have yet another reason to guide high school students toward CU Denver.
"It helps to be able to dangle a little bit of a carrot for them," she said of the scholarships.
For more information about CU Succeed Programs, call 303-556-6140 or go to http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/continuing-education/cusucceed/Pages/default.aspx.
(Photo: Pictured from left, CU Succeed lecturer Paula Gallegos, Associate Director Jason Robinson and Program Coordinator Fatimah Ben-Masaud.)