IB exam fee grant & financial aid assistance bills moving through legislature

(Mar. 19) – The House Education committee approved two bills to expand state financial aid resources for ASSET students and provide assistance with the fees associated with International Baccalaureate exams.

HB19-1196 sponsored by Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, D-Denver, would provide Advancing Students for a Strong Tomorrow (ASSET) students the abilities to receive state financial aid.

“Increasing the eligibility for state financial aid will particularly impact Colorado’s small, rural institutions that lack financial resources to supplement state financial aid for ASSET students,” said Rep. Gonzales-Gutierrez. “Improving access to higher education by increasing financial assistance will erase our equity gaps and also be an investment in Colorado’s future.”

Currently, ASSET students are eligible for the College Opportunity Fund and institutional aid, but they are not eligible for state aid, including scholarships awarded by the state. The ASSET bill passed the legislature in 2013 with bipartisan support and makes the in-state tuition rate at state colleges and universities in Colorado available to all students, regardless of immigration status, who graduate from high school in Colorado after attending for at least three years.

HB19-1196 passed by a vote of 8-5. The bill goes to the House floor.

The committee also approved HB19-1222, sponsored by Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, and Rep. Cathy Kipp, D-Fort Collins. It will allow funds in the advanced placement exam fee grant program to also be available to reduce or eliminate fees for the international baccalaureate exam for low-income students.

“Students taking challenging IB coursework in high school are better prepared for the rigors of college classes and can earn valuable credits toward a college degree,” said Rep. McCluskie. “This bill will help reduce the financial pressure on low-income students so that they no longer have to stress about how they are going to afford their IB exams, but rather can focus on simply studying and passing these assessments.”

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is a two-year high school program offered to 11th and 12th grade students that encourage both personal and academic achievement, challenging students to excel in their studies and in their personal development. Around 50 percent of schools that are designated IB schools are state-funded, according to the Colorado Department of Education.

“We have a chance at the legislature to assist with some of the burden for students who take the IB exams,” said Rep. Cathy Kipp. “This is something that is already provided for low-income students who take Advanced Placement exams. We are simply extending it to students in the International Baccalaureate program.”

The bill passed on a bipartisan vote of 10-3. HB19-1222 now heads to the House Appropriations committee.

Leave a Reply