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It’s always sunny in western Colorado

Tim Foster, President, Colorado Mesa University:

Students from Oregon who attend Colorado Mesa University can experience university life in Colorado for the same price as tuition rates in their home state. To recruit students from Oregon, some jokingly say CMU should simply advertise the 300 days of sunshine that rain down on Colorado each year. But offering Oregon students in-state tuition rates to attend CMU is about a whole lot more than the weather.

A number of students from the Pacific Northwest already attend CMU each year. These students are highly prepared and perform well using common higher education performance metrics. Students from the Pacific Northwest also have a built-in western ethos. They tend to value independent thought, wield an enthusiasm for the outdoors and bring with them an uncanny drive for learning. These student attributes are good for CMU and for Colorado. By exchanging students between the two states, CMU will help strengthen shared bonds between communities of Colorado and those of the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon has one of the more popular flagship universities in the nation. State universities in Oregon are not only well known, but are considered among the best public universities in the west. CMU in-state tuition scholarships are not meant to compete with Oregonian institutions of higher education whose focus and missions are different. Nor would CMU purport to compete with Oregon’s flagship university for students. CMU is instead interested in the percentage of Oregonian students who already opt to attend university out-of-state. These students who seek an out-of-state university experience can now acquire their education in Colorado for roughly 50% of the cost of attending anywhere else.

Preliminary inquiries received from Oregonians interested in the CMU program were looking for a catch — trying to find where the offering was too good to be true. There is no catch. CMU has experienced first-hand the quality of students the state of Oregon offers. We know these students have something to offer CMU through their preparedness, academic prowess and leadership qualities. That is why CMU is making this investment.

The CMU in-state tuition scholarships are available to Oregon students who maintain a GPA of at least 3.5. Oregon students attending CMU under the program will be able to do so for around $12,000. This cost is approximately the same investment students would make for in-state tuition at Oregon’s flagship university. While in Colorado, scholarship recipients will experience one of the Centennial state’s fastest growing universities and newest campuses. CMU offers small class sizes in a moderate-sized community while providing full university experiences to students. CMU is an hour from the canyon country of eastern Utah which includes Moab, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and the San Rafael Swell. The CMU campus is the same distance from the San Juan Mountains of Telluride. The university is also adjacent to the high-desert plateaus of northwest Colorado — host to some of the greatest outdoor opportunities in the Rocky Mountains. And yes, the sun does really shine in western Colorado for over 300 days per year.

Oregon is a wonderful state with tremendous universities and some of the most prepared students in the west based on CMU’s experience. CMU is honored to begin a partnership with communities in Oregon for the benefit of promoting western culture and competitiveness. The Pacific Northwest is a region of the country that builds civic and academic capacity like few others. CMU’s out-of-the-box approach is the university’s way of reaching for some of this human potential.


Written by Tim Foster, CMU President