(Apr. 29) – The House gave final approval to SB19-231, sponsored by Rep. Tony Exum and Rep. Kerry Tipper, that creates the Colorado Second Chance Scholarship program to award scholarships to people who have previously been in the custody of the Division of Youth Services (DYS) and are pursuing their higher education.
“This bill is personal to me because I have a Division of Youth Services facility in my district. If we can get our young people the help they need to get a higher education after they’ve gone through the rehabilitation process, then we can lower the recidivism rate and in return, they will be productive members of society,” said Rep. Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs. “It will cost taxpayers more in the long term than it will to improve the lives of our young people with education and give them a more fulfilling life.”
SB19-231 will award scholarships of up to $10,000 each to youth offenders exiting the DYS system to pursue a higher education. It will create a five person advisory board consisting of four people appointed from various state agencies and one person who previously served in a DYS facility to award the scholarships based upon need.
“This is a smart investment in some of our most vulnerable youth. These are kids that made some mistakes early on in their lives, but are now just trying to get back on track to invest in their future and create a better life for themselves. This program could be the only opportunity many of these kids will have to get a fresh start,” said Rep. Tipper, D-Lakewood.
Both the advisory board and scholarship program will expire in 2022.
SB19-231 passed by a bipartisan vote of 43-22. It now heads to the Governor’s desk.