Moffat County commissioners OK receipt of COSI grant funds | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County commissioners OK receipt of COSI grant funds

CRAIG — Lower- and lower-middle income students in Craig and Moffat counties will soon have another resource to help them attain a higher education.

The Moffat County Board of County Commissioners on Monday, Aug. 27, unanimously approved an agreement to formalize receipt of $26,451 in matching grant funds from the Colorado Department of Education's Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, or COSI, to provide scholarships for low-income students in the two counties.

The Rio Blanco County Board of County Commissioners is expected to follow suit later this week.

And, because Moffat and Rio Blanco counties qualified for COSI's reduced match program, the two counties will only have to raise $8,817 in matching funds to receive the full grant amount of $26,451.

The reduced match program is available in "areas … where the potential for fund raising is limited because of economic conditions, smaller populations, sparseness of business and industry, or other reasons," according to the COSI website. "… To qualify for this special reduced match, counties must be part of an enterprise zone and have either a free-or-reduced lunch rate above the state average or an educational attainment rate below the state average."

This program allows counties that might not otherwise be able to access the scholarships an opportunity to do so, and according to Sue Samaniego, Colorado Northwestern Community College Foundation director, a hefty portion of the matching funds have already been raised.

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"Memorial Regional Health contributed $6,000 to the match, and other local businesses have stepped forward, as well," Saminiego said during a followup interview Tuesday. "So, we're getting there."

Samaniego said COSI grants may be applied for via three different mechanisms: through individual institutions of higher learning, through the counties in which those institutions are located, and through workforce.

The endorsements of the two county commissions was necessary because CNCC applied for the funds via the second mechanism, Samaniego said.

"I see this as an opportunity to help those less fortunate and get funding for higher education into Moffat County," Commissioner Ray Beck said following the vote.

In other business Monday, county commissioners took the following actions.

  • Commissioners unanimously approved an emergency management program grant agreement with the Colorado Department of Public Safety for $20,000 in grant funds. According to Beck, the grant expires on Dec. 31, and the county has been receiving disbursements from the award throughout the year, adding that the grant helps fund the position of emergency management coordinator for the county.
  • Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement with Employee Benefit Management Services, a company that helps administer the county's self-insured health program, that defines the criteria by which the company will manage the the program to remain in accordance to potential changes to HIPAA requirements.

The next regular meeting of the BOCC is set for 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 4, at the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way.

Contact Jim Patterson at jpatterson@CraigDailyPress.com or 970-875-1790.