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Statewide effort and CMU tradition benefits first-generation college students

Participation high during Colorado Free Application day

Over the last decade CMU experienced tremendous growth. During this time CMU’s annual Free Application Day has played a role in that growth story. Since 2009 CMU has supported an annual Free Application Day where students are able to apply to attend college without the burden or hassle of an application fee. CMU has received thousands of applications over the last decade that, when added together, saved students thousands of dollars. 

“While the fee may not seem like a lot, costs can add up for families,” said CMU Director of Admissions Sharaya Cowan. “CMU is one of the most affordable universities in Colorado because we continually find ways to keep our costs down. Free Application Day is just one of those multi-pronged efforts.” 

In 2018 CMU was pleased to see that Colorado, through the Department of Higher Education and the Governor’s office, made Free Application Day a tradition that now extends statewide. In 2019 more than 44,000 prospective students applied on Free Application Day which is a 10% increase from the prior year. Colorado Mesa University saw their fair share of those applications receiving nearly 2,500 in the state-wide report. 

“Free Application Day has been a long-standing tradition at CMU because of its symbolism,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “We serve many first-generation students and low income students who can use extra assistance. Ten years or more of this commitment to Free Application Day sends the message that we understand challenges sometimes facing students.” 

CMU reported that of the 2,493 free applications submitted in 2019 roughly one half of them identified as first-generation students.


Written by David Ludlam