Pueblo County applies for scholarship grant-match

PUEBLO – For the second year in a row, Pueblo County will be applying for a grant-matching opportunity to double the amount of scholarship dollars available to Pueblo’s graduating high school seniors.
 
On Wednesday, April 25, the Pueblo Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to submit an application for the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) matching grant. The Colorado Department of Higher Education’s scholarship program could double the available scholarship funding available to Pueblo students if Pueblo County is selected as a recipient again. The Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation (PHEF), the non-profit organization that administers the Pueblo County Scholarship, prepared the application on behalf of Pueblo County.
 
Nearly half-a-million dollars is available in scholarship dollars for the 2017-2018 academic year. The exact number of scholarships that will be available and the scholarship award will be based on demand and need. However, PHEF and the BOCC are hoping to award approximately 456 scholarships for $1,000 each.
 
“Up until just last year, going to college was just a dream for so many Pueblo kids because they couldn’t afford it. But it’s now a greater reality, because all graduating Pueblo high school seniors can receive a scholarship to go to college. If you’re attending CSUP or PCC, incoming freshmen just have to go online and apply for the scholarship and the money is yours,” Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace said.
 
Scholarship applications are due Sunday, April 30, 2017. So far, more applications have been completed than the same time last year.
 
“We expect students to do things at the last minute. Last year, more than 90 percent of the applications were completed on deadline day. So, I feel great about already having so many complete applications,” Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation Executive Director Beverly Duran said.
 
“I just don’t want students to think they graduate and then they automatically get the scholarship. They still have to go online at www.phef.net to apply and they have to do it before this Sunday! Time is running out,” Duran said.
 
In 2016, PHEF awarded 23 $2,000 scholarships. PHEF awarded $49,664 in the 2017 academic year in continued scholarship awards and selected 21 new scholarship recipients with an award amount of $1,000 each.
 
The Pueblo County Scholarship Fund was created by a ballot initiative in the 2015 Coordinated Election. A minimum of 50 percent of all of the marijuana excise tax collected in Pueblo County is allocated to the Pueblo County Scholarship Fund. The remaining marijuana excise tax revenue is allocated to a list of community enhancement projects. A list of those projects, their statuses and their costs are detailed in Pueblo County’s Marijuana Revenue and Expenditure Report which is available online at: www.county.pueblo.org/public-information.
 
Pueblo County’s marijuana excise tax is a tax on all marijuana grown in Pueblo County. The tax is charged to the marijuana cultivator only once, when the marijuana is first sold or transferred to a retail store or manufacturer. Pueblo County has been collecting excise tax, by voter approval, since January 1, 2016. The excise tax rate is currently at two percent and will increase by one percent annually until a five percent excise tax rate is achieved.
 
CONTACT: For more information, please contact Paris Carmichael, Pueblo County Community Information Manager at carmichp@pueblocounty.us or 719-252-8550.