College Opportunity Fund (COF) Stipend Changes for 2023-2024:
- How much of my UNC tuition will the COF stipend pay this year?
The COF stipend will pay $116 per eligible credit, so if you take 15 credits each semester, COF will pay $1,740 of your tuition for a total this year of $3,480.
- How will I find out what it costs to attend UNC?
The most up-to-date cost information is online at www.unco.edu/costs/
- What are the “College Opportunity Fund” and “COF”?
The College Opportunity Fund—referred to as COF—is Colorado’s way of providing financial support for resident undergraduate students. COF was created by the Colorado Legislature and signed into law in May 2004 by Gov. Bill Owens. Colorado no longer appropriates tax dollars directly to colleges and universities. Instead, eligible undergraduates may apply for a state-funded COF stipend to put toward the cost of undergraduate education.
- What is a COF stipend?
It’s the amount of money the state will pay toward the cost of each credit hour taken by eligible students attending participating Colorado colleges and universities.
- When does the College Opportunity Fund take effect?
COF is now in effect. Fall 2005 was the first term for COF stipends. The eligible student needs to set up a one-time application with COF and authorize UNCO for “lifetime authorization” or would need to remember to authorize every semester they are registered for COF eligible courses.
- Who is eligible?
- Undergraduates who qualify for in-state tuition and enroll at a participating public college or university in Colorado
- In-state undergraduate students at private colleges and universities may also qualify.
- Who is not eligible?
- Residents of states other than Colorado
- Graduate students
- UNC resident tuition & fees for one semester
- How do I apply for the COF stipend?
You only need to apply once. You can monitor your stipend account through this website to track available stipend credit hours. The student must also authorize every term or select “lifetime authorization” after they have applied for COF.
- How do I authorize COF?
You must authorize COF in your Ursa account by clicking on the “Financial” tab and then the COF Stipend Authorization link. Selecting “lifetime authorization” allows the authorization to be done one time for the entire time you are at UNC. The term authorization requires you to authorize COF every semester.
When you registered the first time you may have also gotten a pop up that asked you to authorize. If you did it then you don’t also have to login to Ursa.
- What is the deadline to apply and authorize the COF stipend?
Apply and authorize for the COF stipend as soon as possible, but no later than the last day of the term. Please note that the COF stipend cannot be awarded for previous terms.
- How does my COF stipend get from the state to UNC?
- You apply for a COF stipend using the online application.
- COF adds eligible students to a statewide database that tracks COF stipend use.
- You authorize UNC to apply your COF stipend to your UNC account
- UNC tells COF the number of credit hours you take each term.
- COF automatically sends the stipend to UNC each term.
- UNC credits the stipend against your total tuition charge.
- Your bill shows the stipend credit and the remaining tuition you owe for the term.
- Do I still have to pay tuition?
Yes. The COF stipend doesn’t cover the entire cost of attendance. You will continue to pay a portion of tuition, as you have in the past. Your bill will show how much COF pays and how much you pay.
- Does the COF stipend replace Financial Aid?
No. It doesn’t change financial aid requirements or affect your eligibility for financial aid. Financial aid will be applied toward your share of tuition.
- Will I get a check for the COF stipend?
No. The COF stipend goes to the college(s) where you are enrolled. The stipend is credited to your account each term.
- How many credit hours will the stipend help pay for?
The law that created the COF sets a student’s lifetime limit at 145 credit hours. New students get a COF stipend for 145 credit hours. Continuing students also have a lifetime limit of 145 credit hours, and the number of credit hours used will be based on their classification (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior).
- Is there an exception to the 145 credit hour lifetime limit?
Yes, UNC will automatically process a one-time, one-year Institutional waiver of the 145 credit hour limit and inform you by email. After you have exhausted the UNC waiver, you may apply for an additional waiver from the Commission on Higher Education. Information may be found in your Ursa account by clicking on the “Student” tab and then the "Preparing For College" link, then "Financial Aid for Students" link, and lastly click the "College Opportunity Find (COF) Stipend" link.
- Will the stipend pay for every class?
No. The stipend may not be used for basic skills courses (remedial or ESL courses). Also, the stipend cannot be used for most off-campus, extended studies or continuing education classes.
- Can I choose to not apply the stipend to some classes?
At UNC, the stipend must be applied to all eligible credit hours taken in the same term. Your credit hours will be submitted each term you enroll unless you direct UNC to not submit your hours. If your hours are not submitted, you will be responsible for your entire tuition bill.
- Can I use the COF stipend at more than one college at a time?
Yes. Each college must report your enrollment and credit hours, and COF will pay a stipend to each college. Hours taken at each college count toward the stipend limit.
- Can undergraduates use the stipend for graduate courses?
Yes. Undergraduate students who enroll in graduate courses as part of their bachelor’s degree program will receive the stipend as long as the graduate level course is going towards their bachelor’s degree program.
- Must I do anything other than complete the stipend application?
Yes. You need to authorize UNC to accept the money on your behalf. If you do not choose the “Lifetime Authorization” at the time of initial authorization, you will be prompted to authorize each semester at the time of registration.
- What if I transfer to another college?
You do not need to re-apply for the COF stipend if you transfer. Each college you attend will report the number of credit hours you take each term, and the hours will be applied toward your lifetime limit. The student must authorize each college/university for the term that they are attending a participating Colorado college/university.
- Why aren’t graduate students eligible for the COF stipend?
COF is Colorado’s way of providing financial support for resident undergraduate students only. The state supports graduate students through a contract with each higher education institution.