Colorado School of Mines

Effective Date: August 1, 2007

College Opportunity Fund Credit-hour Limit Waiver Policy

Responsible Executive:
Roger Cusworth, Controller

Responsible Office:
Controller’s Office


Roger Cusworth, Controller, 303-273-3109

Policy Background
The College Opportunity Fund (COF) provides state financial support directly to eligible students for higher
education in Colorado. The COF was created by an Act of the Colorado State Legislature and signed into law by
Governor Owens in May 2004. Since the COF was implemented in 2005, undergraduate students who are
eligible for in-state tuition, and who are admitted and enrolled at a public institution receive a per credit-hour
stipend from the COF.
The law creating the College Opportunity Fund caps an undergraduate student's stipend eligibility at 145 credit-
hours. However, waivers to the credit-hour limit may be granted in special circumstances by the Colorado
School of Mines or by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to allow a limited number of
COF credits to be granted beyond the 145 hour limit. A student is eligible to apply for a CCHE waiver only
after their initial waiver request to the Colorado School of Mines has been denied. The following policy
outlines the eligibility criteria and the process for obtaining a COF credit-hour limit waiver from the Colorado
School of Mines.

Policy Statement

A limited number of waivers to the 145 credit-hour COF limitation may be granted by the Controller of the
Colorado School of Mines. The number of waivers that can be approved by any institution in a fiscal year is
limited by the State of Colorado. Per state statute, priority for waivers is to be given to students 1) who used
COF credit for courses taken after July 1, 2006, as part of Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) or Fast
Track programs, and 2) whose coursework is for purposes of job retraining. Beyond that, waivers will be
granted according to the following eligibility criteria:

• CCHE approved and the institution implemented an alteration of degree requirements or standards
for the specific degree while the student was enrolled in that degree program;
The degree program as approved by CCHE requires more than 120 hours to complete;
Extenuating circumstances existing outside the student’s control (health, physical ability, change of
work hours/location) that keep the student from finishing the degree program within the 145 lifetime
credit-hour limit;
• Paying the full amount of total in-state tuition for credit-hours that exceed the 145 COF credit-hour
lifetime limit would cause a substantial economic hardship on the student and the student’s family;
• The student is strategically pursuing a dual degree, double major, or combination of majors and/or
minors in pursuit of a particular career goal.


Written justification for the waiver request must be provided by the student (see Attachment A: COF Waiver
Request Form). In addition, the following information will be reviewed as part of the waiver request process:
The student’s academic transcript, to note academic progress including changes in major, course
withdrawals, transfer status, etc.;
Research by the Bursar’s Office to determine if a previous tuition refund has already been
granted. Note that a previous tuition refund would have resulted in a reduction of COF hours used
proportional to the tuition refunded for a given term.


Requesting a Waiver
To request a waiver, undergraduate students must have used 120 or more COF hours toward the lifetime limit of
145. Students will be alerted via email when they have reached the 120-hour mark. Students may review their
COF lifetime hours and hours-used balances as follows:
• Colorado School of Mines registration COF summary; or
• Colorado Student Loan Program account created when the student applied for COF:

When a student reaches 120 COF hours, she or he must complete the COF Waiver Request Form (see
Attachment A, which delineates waiver criteria along with suggestions of appropriate documentation to be
included with the waiver request). The waiver request will be considered based on the materials provided by the
student, and the information submitted by appropriate CSM offices as mentioned above.

Timing of Waiver Request
The request for a waiver of the lifetime credit-hour limit should be submitted to the Registrar’s Office no later
than the last date to drop a full-term course with tuition adjustment (the census date) as noted on the
academic calendar for each term. If circumstances warrant filing later than the dates listed above, consideration
will be given if the limited number of institutional waivers has not been exhausted.

COF waivers should be sought before exceeding the 145 credit-hour lifetime limit. For consideration of a
waiver, students should have less than 25 COF-eligible credit-hours remaining (i.e., cumulative COF hours
used greater than or equal to 120). Students should file as early as they know there may be an issue. This
process cannot apply retroactively to hours already taken in prior terms that exceeded the COF lifetime limit.

Approval of Waiver Request
Once submitted, the COF Waiver Request Forms will be processed by the Registrar’s and Bursar’s offices.
Once processed, the Controller will review all waiver requests. If the Controller is unavailable, the Vice
President for Finance and Administration will review waiver requests. If there is a question regarding a
student’s academic progress, the Associate Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs will participate in the
waiver approval process. Decisions will be finalized 30 days after the census date as noted on the academic
calendar for each term. Students will be notified of a final decision in writing or via e-mail. Students who are
denied a waiver from CSM may apply for a waiver from CCHE. The CCHE waiver form is available at:

If the waiver request is approved and additional COF credit-hours are allowed, a tuition and fee bill will be
recalculated, and COF lifetime hours will be adjusted. If approved, the student’s COF institutional waiver status
will be reported to Colorado Student Loan Program.

Waivers will not be approved in the following cases:
• A student has not made satisfactory academic progress;
• A student has completed an undergraduate degree and has used the 30 post-baccalaureate degree COF
credit-hours available.



• Completes the COF Waiver Request Form when 120 COF hours has been reached, being sure to attach
necessary documentation.
• Turns in the COF Waiver Request Form to the Registrar’s Office no later than the census date for a
given semester.
• If COF Waiver Request is denied by CSM, applies for a CCHE Waiver.

• Researches academic records for students requesting COF Waivers.
• Flags Waiver Requests for students whose record of academic progress may not be satisfactory.
• Attaches transcripts to COF Waiver Forms and forwards to Bursar’s Office.

• Researches financial records for students requesting COF Waivers and determines number of credit-
hours that remain eligible for COF credit.
• Forwards research and COF Waiver Forms to Controller’s Office.

Associate Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs:
• Participates in COF Waiver approval process for those students whose academic progress has been
noted by the Registrar’s office as potentially unsatisfactory.

• Approves or denies COF Waiver Requests.
• Notifies students of approval or denial of request and informs students in writing of their option to
pursue a CCHE waiver (


Hours taken in excess of COF lifetime hours are calculated at full tuition, without credit for a COF stipend.
Submitting a COF waiver request does not exempt students from tuition, fees, late and service charges or
financial stops. Students must pay bills in full by the published deadlines.

The waiver request process does not address tuition refunds for course drop or withdrawal, class fees, late
enrollment, grades or grade changes, tuition classification, academic advising or other academic policy or
regulations. There are separate appellate procedures for those circumstances.


Attachment A: COF Waiver Request Form

If you have been notified by CSM that you have used at least 120 hours of COF credit-hours

toward your baccalaureate degree, then you should apply for an institutional waiver of the 145 credit-hour limit
on COF eligibility if you meet one of the waiver criteria listed below. Only one institutional waiver for COF
lifetime hours is allowed per student. Please plan accordingly.

Step 1: Waiver Criteria
Review the waiver criteria listed below and suggested documentation. Indicate which of the waiver criteria
applies to you.

Do these criteria apply
Documentation needed:
to you?
All information submitted is confidential.

You have used COF credits
Evidence of enrollment in PSEO or Fast Track programs can be obtained

for courses taken after July
from the Admissions Office or the Registrar’s Office.

1, 2006, as part of Post
Secondary Enrollment
Options (PSEO) or Fast
Track programs.

You need additional
Dated, signed letter from the employer, on company letterhead,
courses for job retraining.
demonstrating that in order to keep a professional position at that
company, job retraining was required which necessitated a change in
academic coursework.

While you were enrolled,
If Step 3 of COF Waiver form is completed, Registrar will provide
CCHE approved and CSM
documentation of CCHE degree program changes.
implemented an alteration
of your specific degree
requirements or standards.

Your degree program, as
If Step 3 of COF Waiver form is completed, Registrar will provide
approved by CCHE,
documentation of degree program requirements.
requires more than 120
hours to complete.

You have had a recent
Dated, signed letter from the attending physician on letterhead, containing
medical condition.
the general nature of your illness/injury, dates, severity, and why you
could not attend school.

You have had a family
Death certificate, or obituary notice; or dated, signed letter from the
emergency (death, illness).
attending physician on letterhead, containing the general nature of your
family member’s illness/injury, dates, and severity.

You have had a change in
Dated, signed letter from the employer, on company letterhead,
work location or work
demonstrating that in order to keep a job, changes in work hours or
hours which affected your
location were required, which necessitated a change in academic
academic schedule.
coursework or course schedule.

You, or the party
The circumstances that require more than 145 credits to complete a degree
responsible for paying your
must have an academic basis. Beyond the academic considerations,
tuition, have financial
provide documentation why paying total tuition, rather than tuition less the
COF voucher, would create substantial economic hardship for you or for
the payer of your tuition bill.

You are pursuing a dual
If Step 3 of COF Waiver form is completed, Registrar will provide
degree, double major, or
combination of majors/
minors that has increased
credit-hours needed.


Step 2: Justification (attach a separate page):
Please elaborate on the reasons that you are requesting an exception to the COF lifetime limit of 145 credit-
hours. This explanation should clearly show how you meet the circumstances described above in Part I. Attach
necessary documentation.

Step 3: Academic Information

Anticipated graduation date: __________________________
Note: If a waiver is approved,
Have you applied to graduate? ___________yes_________no
you must complete the
Total anticipated number of hours left to graduate: ________
additional hours within three

consecutive terms, not to
I plan to complete these hours over the following term(s):
exceed a period of 365 days.

Term 1 ______ Credit-hours anticipated: __________

Term 2 ______ Credit-hours anticipated: __________

Term 3 ______ Credit-hours anticipated: __________

Step 4: Certification Statement
I certify that to the best of my knowledge the information included in this waiver request is accurate, true and
unaltered. If false information or falsified supporting documentation is found to have been included in this
waiver request, the request becomes void, and the resultant action becomes retroactively nullified.

I understand that if this COF institutional waiver is approved, it is a once-in-a-lifetime waiver from the 145 COF
lifetime hours limitation, and all hours approved must be completed within the parameters specified by the
Controller of the Colorado School of Mines and the State of Colorado.

I understand that if I have not completed the requirements for a baccalaureate degree by the end of the waiver
period and choose to continue my coursework, I must a) pay full tuition without COF stipend credit for all hours
in excess of the hours added to my COF lifetime limit, or b) seek a CCHE waiver (CCHE waiver form is
available at:

For Office Use Only:

As of ______________ date:

Transcript review ________ COF hours approved _________
Bursar review ___________ COF hours approved _________

_______ Waiver denied because criteria not met
_______ Waiver denied because institutional waiver limit met - CCHE waiver is possible

_______ Waiver approved Start term ___________ End Term __________

Turn in your COF Waiver Request Form to the Registrar’s Office located in the Student Center no later
than the last day of add/drop in a given term (census date).


Document Outline