Colorado’s financial aid pot just got a little sweeter for students who finish their college degrees within four years.  A new system approved Tuesday gives public colleges more need-based financial aid for every year a student stays in school. 

Here is a transcript of CPR Education Reporter Jenny Brundin's report: 

Reporter Jenny Brundin: $600 - that’s how much a freshman, let’s call her Gina, will get from the state under the new system. If Gina stays on as a sophomore, she’ll get $800. As a junior, $1,000. And if Gina becomes a senior, she gets $1200. But let’s say Gina doesn’t get it done and has to come back for a fifth year.  Her aid would drop back down to $600. Matt Gianneschi with the Colorado Department of Higher Education says getting students to finish more quickly saves them  and achieves the state goal of getting them to complete college ...

Matt Gianneschi: ... and ultimately be able to move into the workforce successfully because that’s the time the state is reimbursed, if you will.

Reporter: Before, aid was allocated based on each individual school's tuition rates. Most recently, students received on average $700 a year, no matter how far along they were in their studies. Colorado’s experiment is based on national research showing…

Gianneschi: ... financial aid by itself does not improve student outcomes, per se, but tying financial aid to some behavior does incent the desired effect. 

Reporter: …which is, completing college. Research has shown small pilot projects boosted the number of students graduating on time by 7%.  An official at Metro State University of Denver said she thinks the plan dovetails well with the school’s own policies to encourage students to finish on time. The new state system takes effect with the next academic year.

[Photo: Colorado Department of Education]