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Colorado Higher Education Institutions to Waive Application Fees on October 15th

To inspire more Coloradans to continue their education, all 32 public colleges and universities in Colorado and several private institutions will allow students to apply for free on Tuesday, Oct. 15 as part of the second Colorado Free Application Day


Colorado Free Application Day caps off Colorado Applies Month, a statewide campaign that encourages high school seniors to successfully apply to a higher education program and submit their FAFSA. Admissions application information for each institution is available on the campaign website at, and fees will be waived for applications submitted on Oct. 15 only. 


The statewide push is designed to increase Colorado's stagnant college-going and FAFSA completion rates. Despite being one of the most educated states in the country, Colorado sends just 56 percent of high school graduates to a college, university or certificate program, and just 50 percent of students submit a FAFSA application - a key indicator of students' likelihood to continue their education. 


"Colorado Free Application Day sends the message that every student matters," said Gov. Jared Polis. "There are hundreds of higher education programs across the state - from short-term certificates to master's degrees in everything from aerospace engineering to early childhood education - and we encourage all Colorado residents to find an opportunity that harnesses their unique talents and interests."


By waiving application fees - a common barrier to higher education - Colorado Free Application Day aims to improve access to further education and training, which is becoming increasingly critical in the state's rapidly-changing economy. Research from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce shows about 75 percent of today's jobs in Colorado require some education beyond high school, yet only 56.9 percent of the adult population in Colorado has earned a degree or certificate. In response to these workforce demands, the Colorado Department of Higher Education set a goal of reaching 66 percent attainment by 2025 in their statewide plan for higher education, Colorado Rises.  Increasing postsecondary enrollment and reducing equity gaps - the racial disparities in educational attainment - are priority strategies to improve access and reduce costs for Coloradans. 


Frequently Asked Questions

  • When is Colorado Free Application Day?
    • Colorado Free Application Day takes place on Oct. 15, 2019 only. All public and some private institutions will waive application fees from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on that day. 
  • How does it work?
    • You must submit a completed admissions application on Oct. 15, 2019. Any admissions applications that have been started but not submitted may not be granted a waiver. Each institution will have a unique process to waive the admissions application submission fee. Visit the Colorado Free Application Day webpage to find specific information by institution. 
  • Who should I contact if I have questions or technical difficulties?
    • If you encounter any technical problems when submitting your admissions application, please contact the Admissions Office of your school of choice. Their contact information will be listed on their website, which you can find on our Colorado Free Application Day webpage
  • Why should I apply on October 15?
    • Colorado's changing economy demands more education and training. Studies show that by 2020, nearly three in four jobs in Colorado will require a certificate or degree. To set yourself up for success, it's important to reach higher and find a path that suits your unique talents and interests. Higher education is not just good for our state-it's good for you, too! Graduates of higher education programs are more likely to be employed, earn more money over their lifetime and lead healthier lives. 
  • What academic term should I apply for? 
    • If you are applying to one of Colorado's community colleges and technical schools, you are welcome to apply for Spring or Fall 2020. If you're applying to a four-year college or university, you should apply for Fall 2020. 
  • I'm a transfer student. Can I apply on October  15 and receive the fee waiver?
    • Yes! Colorado Application Day is open to all Colorado residents. 
  • What if I'm not ready to submit my application by October 15?
    • To take advantage of Colorado Free Application Day, it's best to have all admissions application materials prepared, double-checked and reviewed before October 15. That way, you can submit a high-quality, complete admissions application and improve your chances of being accepted. If you do not feel prepared to apply on October 15, that's okay! You should wait until you have a complete, high-quality admissions application ready to submit. If you have trouble paying the admissions application fee, call or email the Admissions Office of your institution of choice; most institutions will waive admissions application fees in cases of financial hardship. 
  • What if I apply before October 15?
    • The waiver is valid for admissions applications submitted on October 15 only. Any admissions applications submitted before October 15 will not be granted on automatic admissions application waiver. If you want to apply before Colorado Free Application Day and have trouble paying the admissions application fee, call or email the Admissions Office of your institution of choice. Most institutions will waive admissions application fees in cases of financial hardship. 
  • How do I get my application ready? 
    • If you are a high school graduate, you will likely be admitted to community colleges and technical schools automatically. If you have your sights set on a four-year college or university, you will likely need to submit additional materials and information, including your SAT or ACT scores, a personal essay and letters of recommendation. To learn more about the application process, check out the College Admissions Tool