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May 4, 2024

House Passes Bill to Make College Free for First Two Years

DENVER, CO – The House today passed bipartisan legislation to save students money on higher education. HB24-1340, the Colorado Promise Act, would create a refundable income tax credit to cover the cost of two years of higher education for every family making under $90,000.

“As one of the first members of my family to go to college, I want to make it possible for every aspiring student to afford higher education and achieve their dreams,” said Rep. Shannon Bird, D-Westminster. “By creating the Colorado Promise, we will make higher education nearly free for two years for every family making under $90,000 per year. With this bill, more students will be able to complete their degree and afford the cost of college, which for too many middle income families is unaffordable.”

HB24-1340, also sponsored by Representative Rick Taggart, R-Grand Junction, passed the House by a vote of 46 to 15. This bill would fund two years of in-state college for students in families making less than $90,000, making higher education more attainable for families.

Specifically, this bill would create a refundable state income tax credit for a student, or a taxpayer claiming the student as a dependent, that graduates from a Colorado higher education institution in certain careers. The credit is equal to the tuition and fees paid by the eligible student to the institution, minus any scholarships or grants they earned or qualified for.  The career pathways would be identified by the annual Colorado Talent Pipeline Report which highlights top jobs with multiple openings, above average growth and good wages. 

The Colorado 2023 Talent Pipeline Report identified some of our state’s top jobs in the areas of accounting, medical science, computer science, health care, education, engineering, and more. 

Under this bill, the state credit is available for income tax years 2024 through 2029 and is refundable.To qualify for this tax credit, the student must have completed the program during the income tax year the credit is claimed.

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