Denver Scholarship Foundation

Rising college costs continue to leave more and more students with tremendous debt and/or insufficient credentials to earn a well-paying job. According to The College Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average tuition and fees at a public four-year college have increased by 250 percent over the past three decades, while incomes for typical families grew by only 16 percent.

The DSF Scholarship has had a transformative impact on over 5,000 DPS graduates, who now understand that a family’s limited budget will not prevent hard-working students from achieving their postsecondary and life goals. DSF scholarships help students finance their education and leverage additional financial aid resources to address the real and perceived financial barriers to college.


Your qualified gift to help fund Scholarships in 2017 will be matched 1:1 by special and exclusive agreement with the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI), which is a fund administered by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Your gift will be doubled, providing scholarships to low-income students graduating from DPS.

$600,000 Matching Gift Goal for Scholarships

General Scholarship Fund

Your gift of any amount will help fund scholarships and make college possible for Denver Public Schools’ students.  The impact of the Denver Scholarship Foundation on students enrolled in the DPS system is unrivalled. Denver Scholarship gives scholarships to twenty percent of graduating DPS seniors annually. By making an investment in our Scholarship Program, which is one of the three core aspects of our college access and completion program, you will have partnered with a game-changer for Denver’s youth, and a national leader in helping students from low income, primarily minority backgrounds gain access to the education and experience they need to thrive in our modern economy and contribute to the vitality of our community.

Named Scholarships – A Special Way to Designate Your Support

Your gift will provide a DSF Named Scholarship to one or more students.  Named Scholarships are designated by the donor and named for them, or in honor or in memory of a loved one, or to reflect the type of scholarship the donor wishes to fund.  We ask that you consider making this gift each year for four years – the amount of time in which we encourage students to complete their baccalaureate studies in order to graduate on time and with manageable debt.

Click here to download the Named Scholarship Brochure. To make your commitment today, please download the Named Scholarship Brochure Pledge Form.

A special thank you to all of our donors and supporters who currently have a Named Scholarship. Click here to view the Named Scholarship Program Honor Roll.

Incentive Scholarships

Many students have fallen off track from graduating college in four years because federal financial aid guidelines have encouraged colleges and universities to define full-time enrollment as 12 credits per semester, the minimum amount needed to qualify for a full federal aid package. Yet, if a student takes only 12 credits per semester, it is impossible to complete a bachelor’s degree in four years.  Colleges now define full-time enrollment in terms that makes college completion in six years the norm, leading to additional student debt and a higher risk of non-completion.

Time Is Money

The fact that students can be enrolled full-time and still not graduate in four years is a major cause of rising student debt. In a study by Complete College America: The Four-Year Myth, researchers looked state by state to find out what those extra years really do cost a student.

In Colorado, the cost of attendance* for a year of college is $23,029. Lost wages account for $45,327 per year. It can cost a DSF Scholar over $68,000 per extra year of college. To be sure there are many reasons why students do not take 15 credits per semester, such as having to work to support themselves and their families, critical courses that are unavailable, uninformed choices in majors and enrollment in classes that do not apply to their major. Also, in many Colorado colleges, being enrolled in more than 12 credits per semester can cost more.

Incentive Scholarships – New Leverage to Facilitate College Completion in Four Years

Given what has become a chronic and very serious situation, DSF is restructuring its scholarship policy to provide a $4,000 annual scholarship (instead of the average $2,800) for Scholars enrolled in 15 credits per semester. The increase in funding will be combined with DSF’s:

  • “Best-fit” advising at the high school level so students can identify a college/career pathway that best suits their interests and academic, social/cultural, and financial situation;
  • Assistance in applying for colleges and additional financial aid;
  • Personally connecting DSF Scholars with their campus contacts for college level advising;
  • Early alert communication between the campus contacts and DSF advisors so the student stays on track; and
  • Wrap around support services during the Scholar’s college career.

With this multi-level approach, including the additional leverage of the incentive scholarship, DSF can help minimize the student debt-load and keep more of our Scholars engaged and on track to graduate in four years instead of what has become the costly norm of six years.

*Cost of Attendance: includes tuition, fees, housing, insurance, books and transportation.


Contact Ashleigh Arnall at or 303.951.4146 for more information.