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Dakota Promise Program

If you’re an upcoming graduate at a high school or charter school in Harrison School District 2, you could attend Pikes Peak Community College tuition free starting with the high school graduation class of 2020.

How it works

The Dakota Promise Program ensures that eligible District 2 graduates receive up to $5,000 for tuition and fees each year - enough for you to be a full-time student and build your skills and credentials for a great career. These funds can come from available financial aid like Pell grants and Colorado Student grants, from scholarships as part of the Dakota Promise Program, or a combination of funds.

Thanks to the generosity of The Dakota Foundation, The Legacy Foundation, the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, and wonderful partnership with District 2, the Dakota Promise Program ensures that qualifying students have the opportunity to attend PPCC tuition free regardless of federal financial aid eligibility.

In addition to financial assistance, students will receive intensive support from professional student success coaches.

To be eligible for the program, students must have attended a Harrison School District 2 high school (Harrison, Sierra, or Career Readiness Academy) or charter school (Atlas Prep or James Irwin) for at least one year prior to graduating, complete high school with 2.5 or better GPA (cumulative or junior + senior year), enroll at PPCC within 12 months of graduation, complete a minimum of 24 credit hours per academic year, and apply for all available financial aid by completing a FAFSA. Dakota Promise would pay the difference between the federal and state grants a student receives and PPCC tuition and fees, up to $5,000 annually. To continue in the program, students must complete a minimum of 24 credits each academic year and maintain a 2.0 or better GPA. The time limit for a student to remain in the Dakota Promise Program is 150% of a degree program.

The program will start in the fall of 2020 for the high school graduating class of 2020.

This pilot program was developed with the financial support of the Dakota Foundation.

"The idea behind this program is to create new on-ramps, new ways for young people in some of our most underserved areas to reach their dreams," said PPCC President Lance Bolton. "We're tremendously grateful to the Dakota Foundation for sharing this vision with us, and if we can find more corporate support, we'd love to expand this to the entire Pikes Peak region."

The HS2 Dakota Promise aims to double the number of students attending college within one year of high school graduation and get 80 percent of those students to complete a certificate or degree or transfer to a 4-year college or university.

Harrison School District 2 was chosen for this program because of its highly under-served population. It's also one of the most diverse districts:

  • 80% Graduation Rate
  • 78% Qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL)
  • 75% Identify as people of color (50% Hispanic, 15% African American)
  • State Average SAT Score 1014; Harrison D2 Average SAT Score 950

 

About the Dakota Foundation

For more than 20 years, the Dakota Foundation has sought to combine business discipline and charitable intentions to solve social problems. With grants and program-related investments, we take an investment approach: we want the total social return of our outlays to be higher than the cost.

In doing so, we hope to foster organizations and activities that are both economically and environmentally sustainable. We help people invest in themselves to improve their economic condition and those of their families and communities. This mission stems from our values: self-reliance, personal responsibility, human dignity, equal opportunity, and the preservation of life and beauty on our earth. More info is available on the Dakota Foundation website.

 

Dakota Promise Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is eligible for the Dakota Promise Program?

To be eligible for the program, students must graduate high school in Harrison School District 2 (starting with the graduating class of 2020), having attended at least one full academic year, with 2.5 or better GPA (cumulative or junior + senior years), enroll at PPCC within 12 months of graduation, complete a minimum of 24 credit hours per academic year while at PPCC, and apply for all available federal and state financial aid by completing the FAFSA. Scholarships from the Dakota Promise Program would pay the difference between federal and state grants and tuition and fees, up to $5,000 per academic year. Students must enroll in, and successfully complete (with a 2.0 or better GPA), 24 credit hours per academic year to remain eligible for continued funding. 
 

Do I need to fill out a FAFSA application?

Yes, if you're eligible to apply for federal student aid. ASSET students would fill out the Colorado Student Grant application instead.

 

How much does it pay?

Up to $5,000/year.

 

Does it pay before or after Pell?

After.

 

What does the Dakota Promise Program cover?

Tuition, fees and books/supplies (up to the max of $5,000 per academic year).

 

How soon after graduating high school must students enroll at PPCC to be eligible for the Dakota Promise Program?

They must use it within 12 months of high school graduation.

 

Can you get the Dakota Promise Program in my 2nd year if you didn't qualify the first?

Yes, if you did not meet the 2.5 GPA requirement out of high school, you can become eligible for Dakota Promise after your first or second semester at PPCC if you enroll at PPCC within 12 months of graduating high school, complete at least 12 credit hours, and have at least a 2.0 GPA at PPCC.

 

How will Promise Coaches help students reach their goals?

Coaches develop one-on-one relationships with students for support and resource needs, ensure that students meet with an academic advisor at least once a semester to follow their degree plan and provide workshops on career and time management and financial literacy.

 

Who are the donors making this possible?

The Dakota and Legacy foundations (with more funders coming on board!)

 

Can the Dakota Promise Program be transferred to another institution?

No.

 

Why is this being offered to Harrison School District 2 students?

This was not a random choice. Harrison is our neighbor, and in supporting their high school, we support our Southeast neighborhood, which is home to our largest campus, Centennial.

Harrison also happens to be a place where students face so many barriers for their success. We've looked at those barriers and our aim is to tear down every one of them. More about Harrison high schools:

  • 80% Graduation Rate
  • 78% Qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL)
  • 75% Identify as people of color (52% Hispanic, 14% African American, 10% other)
  • State Average SAT Score 1014; Harrison D2 Average SAT Score 950

 

Is study abroad covered?

Yes, but only up to the $5,000 annual limit.

 

Are online classes covered?

Yes, but, again, you'll burn through that $5,000 limit more quickly.

 

Are there any citizenship requirements to be eligible?
No, there are no citizenship requirements to be eligible for Dakota Promise Program.

 

How does a student apply?

You don't. There is no additional application process. If you're a graduate of a high school in D2 with a 2.5 or better GPA and have applied for federal and state financial aid (FAFSA), you'll be automatically eligible for the Dakota Promise Program when you apply to PPCC.

 

How long can I stay enrolled at PPCC and be a part of the Dakota Promise Program

The maximum eligibility is the same as with federal financial aid, up to 150% of a degree program. A typical Associate’s Degree is 60 credits, so you could be a part of the Dakota Program for a maximum of 90 credits at PPCC.