Whom We Serve

The Colorado State University Dream Project serves first generation and/or low-income students who are college bound.

Historically, members of these groups have, for a variety of reasons, been unable to access higher education. The Dream Project seeks to help alleviate this lack of access to higher education through focused outreach that educates such individuals to a wide range of educational opportunities and assists them in taking advantage of them.

  • First Generation

    First generation students include families without a family tradition of higher education. By definition, no one in such a person’s immediate family has ever attended a community college or a university. First-generation students often have little or no awareness of what educational opportunities are available and often do understand the value of higher education.

  • Low-Income Families

    Difficult economic circumstances can prevent even families with some history of higher education from pursuing an education for themselves or their children. Education is often secondary to more immediate concerns for many low-income families.

  • Individuals and Families Having Faced or Facing Hardships

    Generally, challenging financial circumstances go hand in hand with hardships of one kind or another. Children from economically limited families face difficulties in merely surviving and rarely have the time or resources to avail themselves of educational opportunities. Such difficulties can steer some students away from education as a life choice.

Our high school campuses are selected based on a number of factors, one of which is the proportion of students who fall into the categories above. Below is a breakdown of our high school populations compared to the overall Colorado population.

High School Student Demographics By Race/Ethnicity

The Dream Project partners with high schools that serve a higher number of underrepresented students. Students of color and students from low-income households are less likely to apply to, gain admission to, and persist in college. Dream Project partner high schools also have a lower presence of college readiness programs and community-based organizations when compared to other urban Seattle high schools. Students at Dream Project partner high schools are less likely, on average, to step foot on a college campus than the average Washington State high school student.1

1. Levine, A. & Nidiffer, J. (1996). Beating the odds: How the poor get into college. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Percentage of Students Receiving Free or Reduced Price Lunch

Dream Project partner high schools serve a higher number of students who receive free or reduced price lunch than the average number from high schools across Colorado. Most of these students will be the first in their families to attend an institution of higher education, which means they often lack the social and monetary capital necessary to apply to and pay for college.