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CMU’s Mission of Providing Affordable and Accessible Education Revs up With CMU Promise Tour

The key to a good road trip is motivating music, a great co-pilot and an inspiring destination. The CMU Promise Tour has all of this and more.

Last fall, President John Marshall set out on a few road trips across western Colorado to deliver the good news of the CMU Promise to high school students. The tour included stops at Cedaredge High School, North Fork High School, Delta High School, Olathe High School, Nucla High School and Norwood High School with more planned for spring.

“These trips are really our opportunity to go out and meet students where they are. We want to let students, teachers, counselors and principals all over rural western Colorado know that we’re making a promise to them — that students have a path forward at CMU,” said Marshall.

Starting Fall 2024, the CMU Promise covers 100% of tuition expenses for students in 22 western Colorado counties from households who earn $65,000 or less.

The promise is more than a financial promise, it’s also a promise that CMU teaches students how to think critically for themselves and provides an opportunity for a better life.

“We know the more education you get the better your health outcomes, the better your community outcomes, and of course, the better your earning power,” said Marshall. 

The CMU Promise is made possible through federal grants, state funds, local government contributions, philanthropic endeavors and institutional dollars.

This is just one affordability initiative that CMU uses to break down financial barriers to ensure higher education is affordable. CMU offers the third lowest tuition and fees among four-year Colorado institutions.

In 2022, the CMU Board of Trustees adopted an affordability initiative that lowered the cost of tuition for career and technical education courses at CMU Tech by nearly 40%.

Starting Fall 2024 there are also changes to scholarships students receive at the time of admission based on their grades, known as merit aid, which 60% of first-time students receive. CMU updated the eligibility requirements as well as increased the value of aid at every level which ranges from $3,000 to full tuition. 

“We took a deep dive into the way we were supporting students who had strong grades and made some significant modifications to our scholarship criteria and awards,” said Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management Kim Medina. “We are seeing that it is resonating. We are attracting more students locally, across the state and the nation with our approach.” 

CMU’s radical accessibility and disruptive affordability includes $79 million in total financial aid awarded last year as well as $4 million awarded by the CMU Foundation.

The CMU Foundation offers numerous scholarships to students and opportunities for donors to help students where they need it most.

Hotel Maverick offers many benefits to students as a teaching hotel and recently announced a new contribution commitment of $1 million to the CMU Becoming Mavericks Fund, which provides scholarships to high school students in Mesa County.

To encourage donor participation throughout the community, beginning November 1, 2023, supporters of higher education will be able to double their contributions to local scholarships thanks to the new Hotel Maverick Match fundraising campaign that will match contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $1 million. The matching funds will be provided by the Hotel Maverick with a goal of raising $2 million for local scholarships.

“Making CMU affordable for students wouldn’t be possible without our generous donors,” said Foundation CEO Robin Brown. “And partnerships like the one with Hotel Maverick make our gifts go even further and help even more families afford a higher education.”

A foundational part of CMU’s mission is to provide affordable and accessible education. Through generous donors, strategic partnerships and a willingness to hit the pavement (literally), CMU is ensuring the students of western Colorado have an opportunity for a better life. 


Written by Katlin Birdsall