Find information on Scholarships and other opportunities.

We strive to make Western affordable for every student. In fact, our numbers speak to our success—80 percent of our students receive some form of financial aid. As part of this effort, we offer a variety of funding opportunities through Merit Scholarships, Common Scholarships, Program-Based Scholarships and more.

Scholarship opportunities at Western

Find information on these scholarships and other opportunities, including local scholarships like the Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship, Tuition Exchange scholarships and the Presidential Promise, below.

We strive to make Western affordable for every student, and 80 percent of Western students receive some form of financial aid. However, some of our scholarship programs are highly competitive as we have more talented students than we have scholarships available.

If you have questions about scholarships, scholarship policies or financial aid in general, contact Western’s Financial Aid Department at or 970.943.3085. We’re here to help. Use our Net Price Calculator to estimate merit scholarships and financial aid for which you qualify.


Merit Scholarships

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a Merit Scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s cumulative high school GPA (Western is test blind for 2021-22).

Merit scholarships are renewable for four years.

* Students graduating high school in 2021 and intending to start Western in the fall of 2021 will not be required to provide test scores for admission to the university or for the merit scholarship programs.

Scholarship Tiers

GPA In-State Per Year Out-Of-State Per Year
3.35 to 3.749 East Merit $2,500 Basin Merit $8,000
3.75 to 3.999 Slate Merit $3,500 Ridgeline Merit $9,000
4.0 Taylor Merit $4,500 Peak Merit $10,000

Note: If a student is awarded a Merit Scholarship and fails to maintain the required cumulative GPA of 2.75, the student will not default to the tuition-discount program.

Renewal Requirements for Merit Scholarships

A maximum of eight semesters of eligibility will be awarded to freshman students. To continue receiving a Merit Scholarship, students must:

Undergraduate transfer students are eligible for our transfer scholarship program, which honors academic performance.

Scholarships are awarded based on overall academic record and evidence of achievements. Awards are made only to applicants who will attend Western full time. Students seeking an additional bachelor’s degree are not eligible for these scholarships.

Students are considered transfer students if they took college courses after graduating from high school.

Transfer Scholarships

Transfer students with fewer than 24 college credits will be considered freshmen for scholarship purposes and will be awarded based off the eligibility requirements for either a freshman from Colorado or for a non-resident freshman. Additionally, they must have a minimum 2.5 college GPA.

The following merit scholarships are awarded automatically to incoming transfer students who meet the eligibility requirements. Merit scholarships are renewable for up to three years.

Transfer Scholarship Tiers

In-State Out-Of-State
Advantage Award (3.0-3.49 GPA) $2,000 $4,500
Scholars Award (3.5-4.0 GPA) $3,000 $6,000
Phi Theta Kappa (Two-Year College Honor Society Members) $4,000 $7,000

Don’t Have 24 Credit Hours?

Transfer students with fewer than 24 credit hours are evaluated as incoming freshmen and considered for a Merit Scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. These scholarships are based on GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Use our Net Price Calculator to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.


Common Scholarships

Search through our Common Scholarships.

Several scholarship programs utilize the Common Scholarship Application. Please see the “Application” heading under each scholarship listing to determine if the Common Scholarship Application form may be used. Completed scholarship application packets consist of the following:

  • Completed Common Scholarship Application Form
  • An essay indicating why you are a good candidate for scholarship awards
  • A list of scholarships with accompanying paragraphs for which you are applying—for each scholarship listed, you should include a short paragraph addressing how you meet criteria specific to that scholarship


Other Opportunities

Blees Family Scholarship

The Blees Family Scholarship will provide X student with Y funds for the duration of one academic year.


  • 3.0 minimum GPA.
  • Enough credits to be designated as a junior (60 credit hours) or senior (90 credit hours).
  • Must demonstrate significant and balanced coursework in both “Pratical Arts” (defined below) and “Liberal Arts” (defined below). Preference will be given to students who have declared a major or minor in Practical Arts and a major or minor in Liberal Arts.
  • At least two letters of recommendation from faculty (See box below for additional details)
  • At least one letter must come from a Practical Arts faculty member
  • At least one letter must come from a Liberal Arts faculty member
  • Students must submit a letter accompanying their application where they articulate why they believe a “Well-Rounded” education containing both Practical and Liberal Arts will help them succeed in the marketplace.
  • Students enrolled in the Western/CU-Boulder Partnership for Computer Science and Engineering will be eligible for scholarship as long as they have a Liberal Arts minor.
  • Preference will be given to students that can demonstrate financial need.
  • Preference will not be given on the basis of race, ethnicity or gender.

“Practical Arts” for the purpose of this scholarship will be coursework in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Excercise and Sports Science, and Business.

“Liberal Arts” for the purpose of this scholarship will be coursework in Art, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Communication Arts, Education, Film, English, Environment and Sustainability, Music, Philosophy, Public Relations, Spanish and Theater.

This scholarship requires two letters of recommendation: at least one from a liberal arts faculty member, and at least one from a practical arts faculty member. These letters must be submitted by the faculty member to a Dropbox location. It is responsibility of the student to inform faculty members of this. Any applications without the required two letters would be considered incomplete and not eligible for the award. Faculty can submit their letters of recommendation to a OneDrive folder available on the scholarship application form.

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship (MARS)

Western Colorado University Alumni may recommend prospective students who they feel will add to the community of learning and family that is the Western Nation.

The guidelines are as follows:

  • An individual Western alumni may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship ($250 per semester).
  • Application deadline is June 1 for new students enrolling for the following fall semester.
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only, and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.
  • The recommended student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Western employees are eligible to recommend a student, but not a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits.
  • Not available to mid-year transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.
  • The nominating alumni or employee must complete all portions of the online nomination form.

The Admissions and Alumni offices will verify the nomination forms before the award is given. If you have any questions, contact the Admissions Office at or 800.876.5309.

To apply, please visit our online web form.

Tuition Exchange Program

The Tuition Exchange (TE) Program is a reciprocal scholarship opportunity for dependents of eligible faculty and staff members who are employed at participating Tuition Exchange schools. Under this arrangement, dependents who apply to participating colleges and universities may be awarded TE scholarships for basic tuition costs. There are more than 660 institutions around the country and the world that currently participate in the program.

“Import” Students at Western

This is for students who are dependents of employees at other TE program schools and who hope to attend Western Colorado University.

If you receive a TE scholarship for Western, whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student, the cost of basic full tuition will be covered.

Steps for Attending Western through the Tuition Exchange Program:

  1. Check with your home institution to see if you meet the eligibility requirements to apply for the TE scholarship. You should contact your Tuition Exchange Liaison Officer (TELO), who will be able to guide you through the process. You may need to fill out forms or take other steps to be certified by your institution to participate.
  2. Check to see if you meet the eligibility requirements for the program at Western. Incoming students must be first-time freshmen and be merit eligible.
  3. Apply for admission and be accepted to Western by Dec. 31.
  4. Fill out the TE application on the Tuition Exchange website and receive certification by Dec. 31.
  5. Complete your FAFSA and submit it to Western for the coming school year.
  6. For in-state students who are residents of Colorado, apply for and authorize the College Opportunity Fund (COF).
  7. If all documents have been completed, the student has been certified by the TELO and accepted to Western by Dec. 31, the TE applicant will receive notification from Western by Feb. 15. This notification will include information about the student’s TE award status.
  8. In order to renew the TE scholarship year-to-year, students must:
  • Maintain eligibility at their home TE institution.
  • Retain full-time status, taking at least 12 credits per semester.
  • Be seeking a degree.
  • Attend Western in consecutive semesters (excluding summer terms).
  • Maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.
  • Live on-campus for their first two years of school.

The Tuition Exchange scholarship is available for up to eight consecutive semesters.

If you have any questions about Tuition Exchange, or if you would like more information, please contact Western’s TELO, LaDonna Garcia.

“Export” Students at Western

For students who hope to attend another school that is part of the TE Program:

  1. Read Western’s Tuition Exchange (TE) Program Policy (located on the HR page in Collaborate).
  2. Start early. In August or September of the year before you hope to attend college, contact Western’s Tuition Exchange Liaison Officer (TELO), LaDonna Garcia, to receive information about the steps for the process.
  3. Around this time, you should check your eligibility for other schools in the program and get in contact with TELO’s at those institutions. You are responsible for maintaining contact with these other schools and for being aware of their deadlines, application processes, scholarship criteria, etc.
  4. Contact the HR office for Western’s TE Program Scholarship Certification & Application form and return the form to the HR Office by Oct. 1.
  5. Based on the number of available export candidate positions, you (and your sponsoring employee) will be ranked for scholarship certification priority. The HR Office may request additional documentation during this process to assess student eligibility for the scholarship.
  6. In early November, you will receive confirmation of whether you have been certified for a Tuition Exchange scholarship (or placed on a wait list). This is a competitive scholarship and meeting the eligibility requirements does not guarantee certification.
  7. Once you have been selected for TE certification, fill out the Tuition Exchange Application on the TE website. Western’s TELO will approve your TE application.
  8. If you are certified for TE but do not receive a TE scholarship or decide not to attend a TE school, please notify Western’s TELO by Feb. 1 (or as soon as you know you will no longer pursue a TE scholarship).

If you have any questions about Tuition Exchange, or if you would like more information, please contact Western’s TELO, LaDonna Garcia.

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp, AND are eligible for a Pell Grant. For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of Federal, State and Institutional aid.

To be eligible for the Denver Scholarship Foundation Award and possibly the Presidential Promise, students must:

  • Must meet all Denver Scholarship Foundation requirements.
  • Complete the FAFSA by April 1 and be designated as Pell eligible.
  • Complete your Financial Aid requirements, including verification if required, at Western by July 15.

Colorado GEAR UP provides students in their program with a scholarship upon high school graduation and a valid and completed FAFSA. For information on becoming a GEAR UP student, visit

To be eligible for Colorado GEAR UP and possibly the Presidential Promise:

  • When Colorado GEAR UP students enroll at Western, Western will match the scholarship that GEAR UP has awarded.
  • If the Colorado GEAR UP student is also eligible for a Pell Grant, the student will also qualify for the Presidential Promise.

A maximum of eight semesters of eligibility will be awarded to freshmen students.

Maintenance Requirements

To maintain Denver Scholarship Foundation Award status once awarded, students agree to:

  • Enroll in and complete a minimum of 12 credit hours each consecutive fall and spring semester.
  • Meet satisfactory academic requirements.
  • Complete the DSF Scholarship Renewal Application and FAFSA by April 1 each year.
  • Meet with their Western-DSF advisor each semester.

Other Details

  • The Presidential Promise is not a separate scholarship.
  • Students must be eligible for a Pell Grant to receive the Presidential Promise.
  • If a student’s federal aid and other scholarships cover the cost of tuition and fees, a student’s DSF and/or GEAR UP scholarship may be used for room and board.

To learn more, contact our friendly admissions staff at

The Student First Scholarship Fund was created by generous Western alumni and friends to address the heightened financial hardship Western students are facing as a result of the economic aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office of Student Financial Services will review applications and, once approved, disburse awards accordingly.

To apply, complete the online application.


Program-Based Scholarships

Program-Based Scholarships: Through generous donations to the university from our alumni and friends, many academic departments offer additional resources to current and—in special cases—incoming Western students. Explore the scholarships we offer, and contact the specific department for information on the application process for each particular award.

Department Information

Financial Aid


Carrie Shaw

Director, Student Financial Services

Contact Information


8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Taylor Hall 314
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231