colorado promise

what is colorado promise?

Colorado Promise provides students with tuition and fees for their first two years of college in the form of a yearly refundable tax credit if they have a family income of $90,000 or less.

How does it work?

Starting in fall 2024, students who enroll in a qualifying program will have tuition and fees covered, after scholarships and grants, and can begin claiming the credit on their 2025 taxes.

As this is a tax credit, students are required to first pay for their tuition and fees upfront and can then request reimbursement through a tax credit when they file taxes for the year.

Eligible students may attend Colorado public postsecondary institutions including community colleges, public four-year colleges and universities, area technical colleges, and local district colleges. Currently, the program requires that students have initially enrolled at an eligible institution within two years of graduating high school (or equivalent).

Students with substantial concurrent enrollment credits may be able to complete an entire bachelor’s degree through the tuition and fee reimbursement program.

next steps

Students should ensure that they have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Colorado Application for State Financial Aid (CASFA) and enroll in at least six credits to be eligible for the program.

eligibility

Students are automatically eligible to receive the tax credit if they meet all eligibility criteria; there is no separate application.

  • Complete FAFSA or CASFA
  • Family Adjusted Gross Income of $90,000 or less, as determined by the FAFSA or CASFA
  • Colorado resident with an in-state tuition classification
  • Classified as degree or credential-seeking
  • Initially enrolled in public postsecondary within two years of high school graduation or equivalent

Eligible students can receive a tax credit for out-of-pocket tuition and fees paid at an eligible institution for terms or semesters in which they meet the following criteria:

  • Have accumulated fewer than 65 credits at the start of term (excluding AP, IB, military credit, credit for prior learning and dual or concurrent enrollment)
  • Completed at least six credits at the end of the term
  • Earned a 2.5 GPA at the end of the term
  • Student or family paid some amount in tuition and/or fees

faqs

This tax credit fully reimburses tuition and fees paid out-of-pocket by eligible students and their families. The higher education institution of choice will notify students if they are eligible for the program and how much was paid in qualified educational expenses for a given tax year. To receive the credit, a student must file state income taxes and request the amount shared with the student by their institution. Each year, students will file taxes and claim the credit for tuition and fees paid in the prior academic year, not the current academic year.

For most eligible students, a certificate and/or associate degree is covered by the program.

If you are eligible for Colorado Promise and take time off from your degree program (such as not enrolling for one or more terms or semesters), you remain eligible for the tax credit when you return to your studies as long as you continue to meet eligibility criteria.

Yes, as long as you transfer to an eligible public institution in Colorado, such as a community college, area technical college, local district college, or public four-year college or university.

Yes! Colorado Promise applies toward your first 65 credits for eligible students, regardless of whether you have completed a certificate, associate degree or another credential. You can continue to receive the tax credit until you reach the 65 credit cap.

Students should always request Colorado Promise, never their parents, guardians or through another individual. This is true for students considered independent and dependent on the FAFSA.

Yes! This is a refundable tax credit, meaning eligible students will receive the full amount paid out-of-pocket for tuition and fees in eligible terms, even if that amount is larger than the student’s tax liability or total income in that tax year. 

To claim the credit, you will file state income taxes for the tax year following the academic year(s) for which you were eligible. For example, if you were eligible in Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 but would not otherwise file taxes, you should file your taxes in early 2026 for the 2025 tax year to claim the credit. Additional guidance on this process will be provided in the coming months.

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