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CSU Pueblo Academy creates a new pathway to college access through low-cost, flexible online courses for students who did not meet admissions requirements

Release Date: September 09, 2021

Haley Sue Robinson

Director of Communication/PIO

Marketing, Communications and Community Relations


Student walking into BCC on campus

PUEBLO, COLO. (September 9, 2021) -- Colorado State University Pueblo (CSU Pueblo), a regional comprehensive university in southwest Colorado with a focus on professional studies, today announced a new admissions pathway that will expand college access for students who did not meet basic admissions requirements. In collaboration with StraighterLine, the new CSU Pueblo Academy offers low-cost, competency-based general education courses that enable students to earn admission to the university and apply the credits toward their bachelor’s degree. 

“College completion offers a path toward long-term economic mobility and security. At the same time financial and academic barriers can too often derail the college-going aspirations for students who would benefit the most, particularly students of color, first-generation students, and students from low-income backgrounds,” said Chrissy Holliday, vice president for enrollment management, communication, and student affairs at CSU Pueblo. “This new inclusive and affordable approach to admissions will create pathways to college access and success, helping students to launch or advance their careers and achieve greater economic mobility.” 

Research has consistently shown that a bachelor’s degree can provide a significant return on investment, especially during economic downturns. An August 2021 report from the Colorado Department of Higher Education found that the state’s unemployment rate in 2020 was 5.1 percent for bachelor’s degree holders, compared to 6.8 percent for workers with some college education but no four-year degree and workers with only a high school diploma. Coloradans with a bachelor’s degree are not only more likely to be employed, but earn wages approximately 40 percent higher than workers with even an associate’s degree.

The Academy program is open to first-time students who did not qualify through the traditional admissions process, students looking to transfer into CSU Pueblo, and those who were previously enrolled but stopped out before earning a degree. Students who enroll in the Academy can take three to four courses to earn up to 12 credits toward a degree. Students who have stopped out of CSU Pueblo can also return to good academic standing and waive out of GPA requirements for readmission by successfully completing the Academy courses.

“Although today’s students have many options to earn a postsecondary credential, a bachelor’s degree still offers a unique return on investment, particularly when students have low-cost, low-risk pathways to enroll in college,” said Burck Smith, founder and CEO of StraighterLine. “CSU Pueblo Academy is the perfect example of how to open up access to a four-year college at much lower cost and lower risk, allowing learners to jump start their degree by  earning college credit and efficiently progressing toward completion.”

Students can access the CSU Pueblo Academy through StraighterLine’s online platform for a subscription of $160 per month. The courses generally take four to six weeks to complete but are self-paced, allowing students to progress on their own timelines.  

Along with 24/7 access to online math and writing courses, the subscription includes access to e-textbooks and other course materials, live coaching, supplemental skill development exercises, and other support services. In addition, Academy students are considered part of the CSU Pueblo “Pack” and have access to on-campus housing and job placement services during their studies.

Students who are interested in enrolling in or learning more about the CSU Pueblo Academy can visit here.

About StraighterLine

StraighterLine is a student success company and the category creator for providing scalable solutions to deliver affordable, effective and accelerated learning pathways to formal degree programs and widely recognized industry credentials. The StraighterLine platform supports over 40,000 new students a year, including directly through the website as well as through the company’s growing network of university and employer relationships.

Visit StraighterLine for more information.

Spring 2022 Registration is Open

To register for Spring 2022 courses, students will need to meet with their academic success coach or faculty mentor, submit proof of vaccination or exemption, and self-register through Banner.

Registration Requirements

Submit Proof of Vaccination or Exemption

CARES Funding

Student wearing face mask

CARES Funding is available for eligible students to help pay for cost of attendance needs such as food, housing, childcare, health care, course materials, technology, tuition assistance, and other critical needs.

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