(Apr. 23) – The House Education committee passed a bill 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 served in 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 these 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 they’ll be more productive members of society,” said Rep. Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs.
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.
“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 might be the only opportunity many of these kids will have to get a fresh start,” said Rep. Tipper, D-Lakewood. “It will cost a lot more to keep these kids in corrections and perpetuate the cycle than it will to improve their lives with education and give them a more fulfilling life.”
Both the advisory board and scholarship program will expire in 2022.
SB19-231 passed with a vote of 8-5. It now heads to the House Appropriations committee.