Weld County Wonders: Why Are Students Leaving Scholarship Money On The Table?

Fewer than a third of Weld County high school grads have applied for the free money promised to them in the first year of the Bright Futures scholarships.

Weld County’s program gives graduates up to $3,000 a year for four years to attend college or technical training. About 600 students have been approved – only a third of all the district's graduates. That means hundreds of students may attend school this fall without the scholarships.

Mike Freeman, chairman of the Board of Weld County Commissioners, is puzzled at the low response.

"It’s not that they’re not aware of it," he said. "I don’t want to call kids lazy, but I mean all you have to do is fill out the application and you’re automatically accepted."

He said the program is well-advertised.

"It’s almost like they are unwilling to walk across the street to receive help," Freeman said.

The program is funded through donations from property owners who get significant property tax rebates in return. The county has raised about $1 million, which is short of the amount needed. However, Freeman said he's confident they’ll pick up.