In 1972, a musician born Henry John Deutschendorf released a popular song celebrating the sublime peaks of his favorite state. It took him nine months to write and honored the inspirational nature of the mountains that dotted his homeland. The narrator tells the story of a man moving to a midwestern state, scaling its mountains, and reveling in the beauty of the landscape. “Colorado, rocky mountain high/I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky/The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullaby…” The musician had previously made his affection for the state known, as he adopted the state’s capital city as part of his stage name.
Nearly twenty years following the death of John Denver, “Rocky Mountain High” is one of two official state songs of Colorado. Its lyrics celebrate the aspirations of those who explore Colorado’s natural beauty, especially those who take on the challenge of climbing the Rockies. The can-do attitude of these hikers resonates through the people of the Centennial State, so named for its admission into the union in 1876, one hundred years after the founding fathers declared independence. Because of their mountain-climbing spirit, students in Colorado on their way up the Pike’s Peak of secondary education may be hesitant to accept help, but those needing an extra push can find scholarships in the following places:
Deadline: March 31
Located in the Denver suburb of Arvada, the Partner Colorado Foundation is one of the state’s most prominent philanthropic organizations. The Partner Foundation has two tenets, one of which is “support[ing] organizations that make a tangible difference in people’s lives through programs that offer health care, foster care, adoptive and counseling services, mentoring, food, clothing, shelter and more.”
The other, and more primary, goal of the foundation is establishing scholarships for students. Two scholarships, one for current high school seniors, the other for undergraduate college students, are open for application to current Colorado residents. The application asks for the student’s FAFSA status and academic transcript, two letters of recommendation, and also an essay describing their goals for the future and accomplishments of the past.
Deadline: April 15, 2020
The Credit Union of Colorado is a federal credit union that serves the Centennial State. In addition to its banking and financial services, the Union prides itself on its community outreach through the Credit Union of Colorado Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to local philanthropy. To this end, the CU of CO offers ten scholarships annually to Colorado students who demonstrate devotion to helping others as well as academic aptitude.
Colorado residents active in their community with a 3.5 GPA accepted to an accredited institution of higher learning may apply. The application includes an essay where students are to discuss the importance of community service in under one thousand words. If chosen by the board, students can also re-apply for the scholarship’s financial rewards up to four times.
Deadline: TBD for 2021 (Opens October)
The namesake stones of the Rocky Mountains formed nearly 2 billion years ago through metamorphic processes that left behind major deposits of coal, buried deep beneath the mountain range. One of the largest of these deposits lies in the San Juan basin, located in Colorado’s southwestern quadrant on the New Mexico border. To this day, Colorado mines the seventh-most coal in the country, mostly used for powering the state’s electric grids.
The Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute seeks to keep the energy running by providing several scholarships to young students considering a job in the fossil fuel industry, including the Engineering & Geology Scholarship. This grant in particular applies to undergraduate college students pursuing a engineering degree, specifically mining or coal engineering.
Winners will receive two $2,750 scholarships towards their last two years of college tuition. Additionally, RMCI scholars receive the fantastic opportunity to attend the Institute’s annual convention, held each June, where they can meet industry leaders, learn more about the inner workings of the business, and network for job opportunities.
Deadline: March 13, 2020
The University of Colorado Boulder, informally known as UC Boulder, is the largest institution of higher learning in the state, home to over thirty thousand students. Known for its nationally renowned academic programs, diverse culture, and popular campus organizations, the university is located in the heart of downtown Boulder, a liberal city flocked to by artists and also philosophers. The inclusive nature of the campus, regardless of individual background, reflects in their unique list of alumni, including former Second Lady Lynne Cheney, actor Jonah Hill, and both members of the electronic band 3OH!3.
The campus tradition of being a haven for all is reflected in its numerous scholarship programs, notably the First Generation Grant. This specific scholarship is awarded to children of those who do not have any sort of education beyond a high school diploma. Open to Colorado residents who show financial need and are also the first members of their immediate family to attend college, the grant offers up to $1,000 per semester, renewable for ten semesters dependent on certain academic requirements.
This program enables parents who may have not thought it possible for their children to receive a degree, something they were never able to do, to kick-start a better future for their children in the diverse city of Boulder.
Deadline: March 15
The Centennial State’s Freemason organization, known as the Grand Lodge of Colorado, devotes themselves to public service. The Freemasons, a fraternal organization commonly depicted in popular culture as a “secret society”, are, in real life, a community organization that devotes part of their time to helping various charities and non-profits. The philanthropy of the Grand Lodge of Colorado goes back to 1860 and exists today as the Colorado Mason’s Benevolent Fund.
One responsibility of the Mason’s Benevolent Fund is the awarding of scholarships to those the Scholarship Committee deems deserving. Regardless of what the name may imply, according to the fund’s website, scholarships are awarded “primarily for leadership, maturity, need, and scholastic ability without reference to race, creed, color, sex, or Masonic relationship.” The only true requirements are that students must be graduating Colorado high school seniors who intend to go to college within the state’s borders. Scholarships reward the winners with up to $10,000 per year, renewable for up to four years.
Deadline: April 1, 2020
Denver, the “mile-high city,” is located exactly 5,280’ above sea level. With a population that slots it in as the twenty-first most populous city in the US, it is reasonable to conclude that it may be America’s version of the mythical “city in the clouds.” The fact that the city was recently deemed by U.S. News and World Report to be the “best place to live in the USA” only compounds Denver’s utopian, celestial image. In a city where students are already close to the stars, organizations such as the Denver Scholarship Foundation attempt to help them reach even higher.
The foundation, according to their aesthetically pleasing website, “inspires and empowers Denver Public Schools’ students to enroll in and graduate from postsecondary institutions of higher education, by providing the tools, knowledge, and financial resources essential for success.” Founded in 2006, the foundation has now awarded nearly $25 million in scholarships to over four thousand Denver students.
For more information on the DSF’s fantastic program, including individual scholarship opportunities, Denver students who attend public schools are encouraged to contact them and also apply through their website.