Finish What You Started

Program Update

Thank you for your interest in the Finish What You Started Program at CU Boulder. At this time, we are not accepting applications from students who have not already engaged with our Academic Advisor & Program Manager.

If you are still interested in earning your CU Boulder degree, the Division of Continuing Education can provide you with options for returning to CU and completing your degree. To learn more, visit the CU Complete page or contact us at or call (303) 492-5148.

Finish What You Started Program at CU Boulder

It is never too late to complete a college degree. With the support of the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, CU Boulder has new resources to support you in finishing your undergraduate degree.

The Finish What You Started program provides financial, academic and career support to help Colorado residents go back to school, earn their degrees, and enhance their career outlook. 

Why should you participate?

The program provides you with a host of support services as you work toward completing your undergraduate degree, including:

  • Scholarship funding starting at $1,500 per semester until you graduate (or through Spring 2025) 
  • One-on-one academic advising and enrollment support to understand your degree requirements and efficient avenues to completion.
  • Coaching to promote self-exploration, develop academic and life skills, and facilitate goal setting and accountability 
  • Career advising to explore your interests and help you navigate the transition to the workforce, including assistance with on-campus employment, internships, and a full-time job after graduation Financial consultation to understand available federal aid, other scholarships, and the possibility of more funding to support you 
  • Access to additional CU Boulder student success resources

Online opportunities to finish your degree may be available. Consult with your advisor to learn more. 

Who is eligible?

To participate, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Colorado resident
  • Be pursuing your first degree
  • Have completed credits that are applicable to a CU Boulder degree
  • Plan to complete your degree in Spring 2025 or sooner 
  • Not have enrolled in a higher education institution over two consecutive semesters
  • Are or have been previously enrolled in CU Boulder
  • Have been impacted economically by the pandemic
  • Have demonstrated financial need (ex. Pell eligible, unemployed, etc.)

Even if you don’t qualify for the Finish What You Started program, CU Boulder’s Division of Continuing Education can still help you finish your degree. To learn more, contact us at or (303) 492-5148. 

Contact Information

Have questions about the program? Email us at or call us at (303) 492-9671.

Once your FWYS application is processed (two business days), you will receive a welcome email that includes your student ID and instructions to access your student portal (Buff Portal) and CU email. Note: If you do not receive this email, please check your spam folder.

  • Buff Portal: Allows you to check enrollment dates, personal information, class schedule, textbooks, grades, tuition bill, advising appointments, and more.
  • Faculty and staff will use your email account as their primary means of communication with you. In fact, some instructors will only respond to messages sent from this address. Please be sure to check your account regularly.

Finish What You Started Contact List:

​​​​​​​We are delighted you are joining us and look forward to working with you this semester! Our Finish What You Started team is available to assist you with any questions. Please contact us by emailing or calling 303-492-9671. 


To register for classes, you must complete the following steps:

Submit final transcripts

Submit final transcripts from any colleges or universities attended since you left CU Boulder. Email them to Sometimes it takes a few weeks to process these transcripts. If a few weeks have passed and you’re still not seeing the credits mapping into your degree audit, please reach out to

Complete pre-registration items

Before you register for classes, you will need to complete the pre-registration items – updating your address, phone, and emergency contacts (located in Buff Portal under the Class Registration guide card). Once pre-registration is complete, you can search for classes, add them to your shopping cart, and then continue with enrollment.

Resolve any holds on your account

CU Boulder assigns holds or to-dos to inform you of steps you may need to complete. A hold prevents you from taking some kind of action (such as registering for classes), and you can see holds on the “Holds & To-Do’s” card in Buff Portal. A to-do is a recommended action that certain students need to complete.


Enroll in classes during open enrollment or during an assigned enrollment appointment. This information is provided in the Class Registration guide card in Buff Portal.

Financial Aid

Finish What You Started Scholarship

To receive the FWYS scholarship, you need to attest that you were impacted financially by COVID, but you do not need to provide any details. The FWYS academic advisor will send you this attestation form to fill out.

  • Following your enrollment into the program, the FWYS scholarship will show up on your account automatically each semester before your tuition bill deadline, which is based on when you enroll. You don’t need to apply for it each year.

Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

This form will determine if you are eligible for any additional aid including loans, grants, and scholarships (excluding FWYS, which is not counted as part of your financial aid package). You will need to complete the FAFSA form every academic year. You must be readmitted to CU or active in the CU record system before a Financial Aid Advisor can review your application.

  • Students not eligible for federal aid can fill out a CASFA form for Colorado state aid. Personal information shared through CASFA is not shared with a federal database.
  • The financial aid advisor for FWYS is Undocu-Ally trained and knowledgeable about the financial aid process for all students, including undocumented students. Please email with any questions.

Apply for the Colorado Opportunity Fund (COF)

Apply for the Colorado Opportunity Fund (COF) stipend online.

  • Continuing Education (CE) classes such as CE Evening Credit, CE Online Credit, Applied Music, and Winter Session are not eligible for COF. However, the cost of these classes are similar to Main Campus classes where COF is applied.
  • Authorize COF.

Tuition Payment

Pay Your Bill and Access Your Tuition

Bills are based on when you enroll and become available in Buff Portal by the second Thursday of each month once the term begins and you have registered for classes. Payment is due on the 5th of the following month. Notably, your FWYS scholarship will not appear on your account until close to your tuition bill deadline.

  • To view and pay your bill, log on to Buff Portal. Locate the Tuition & Fees card, then click Balance Summary. You may also set up a payment plan.
  • Confirmation Deposit: Students taking any Main Campus classes will be charged a $200 confirmation deposit, which will be returned when you graduate. If you take only CE classes, this deposit is not required.
  • Student Fees: Students taking any Main Campus classes are charged fees. If you take only CE classes, you will be charged for student fees ONLY if you are enrolled in six credits or more.

Drop Deadlines

Keep track of deadlines in case you decide to drop a class. CE and Main Campus classes have different deadlines, depending on the session. You can view more information on Main Campus deadlines via the Office of the Registrar’s Academic Calendar page and more information on CE deadlines via the Dates and Deadlines page. If you drop after the deadline, a W will post to your record, and you will be responsible for the full or partial cost of the class. If you have any questions, please reach out to your FWYS academic advisor at

Before Classes Begin

Meet with Your Academic Coach

Your FWYS academic coach offers holistic, tailored coaching with a focus on deepening self-awareness, enhancing motivation and self-confidence, developing academic and life skills, and facilitating goal setting and accountability. Topics are highly varied but may include time management, active learning strategies, and stress reduction. Schedule an appointment by emailing or calling 303-735-4743.

BuffOne Card and RTD Bus Pass

The BuffOne Card serves as your campus identification, and it allows you to add funds to dine in campus restaurants, print documents, and enter sporting events.The RTD Bus Pass is a separate card, which allows you free use of the RTD bus system across Boulder County and Denver including to and from DIA. (Only fee-paying students have access to the bus pass).

  • You may submit a photo to the BuffOne Card Office in advance so that your card will be waiting for you when you stop by their office to pick it up. Email your photo to

Health Insurance

Students are required to carry a comprehensive medical plan while attending CU. You may elect coverage through a CU plan or waive this option in favor of private insurance. Students must meet this requirement their first semester and at the beginning of each academic year.

  • If you are taking six or more credits, you must complete the health insurance requirement process. Students taking fewer than six credits do not need to complete this process.
  • Please see the Student Health Insurance page for all dates related to coverage and open enrollment.
  • If you do not take action to enroll or waive by the appropriate deadline, you will be automatically enrolled in the Anthem Gold SHIP and charged for this coverage. There will be no refunds granted following the deadline.
  • If you are taking only CE classes and waive the insurance plan, you are not eligible for the Student Fee Package, which includes the RTD bus pass, access to the Student Recreation Center, etc. (Students taking Main Campus courses will still be assessed the Student Fee Package.) Notably, students taking CE Online Credit or Evening Credit classes may complete the student fee package request form including electing to pay the Mental Health Resource Fee for access to a counselor at CAPS. You may also use free Telehealth by AcademicLiveCare services 24/7 without paying this fee. Please see the Mental Health Support section below.


Please go into the MyCUHealth portal to submit your proof of vaccinations including MMR. See the Immunization Requirements page for proof of vaccination deadlines.

  • To request a medical exemption, you will need documentation from a healthcare provider.
  • To request a non-medical exemption, you can either include provider documentation or complete a 20-min educational video. Once you complete this video, you will fill out a CO Department of Public Health form indicating the vaccinations for which you are requesting exemption.
  • If you are unable to find your MMR records, you may get a titer (blood test to determine if you need an MMR) at Wardenburg Student Health or through a medical clinic that takes your insurance. You should then upload the results into your health services portal.

Parking Permits

Students purchase their parking permits based on the order of total credits earned, so seniors with 90+ credits have priority, then juniors, etc. You will need to know your total credit hours to determine the date when you can purchase your permit. You will also need to have your IdentiKey username and password, vehicle model and license plate number, the specific parking lot where you would like to park, and payment.

  • Tip: If you prefer to park at a kiosk in front of CE (1505 University Ave), spots across the street from this building are “back in” only. Cars are ticketed if they do not back into the spot.
  • Tip: A lot of students park in the neighborhood on the west side of Broadway or along Baseline. There are restricted areas with posted signs limiting the amount of time someone can park in the neighborhood(s) next to campus, so make sure to pay attention to those signs.


View this three-minute video for tips on how to purchase or rent textbooks. You may charge your books and school supplies to your bill by selecting “CU Student and Tuition Fee Bill” as your payment method during checkout.

  • If you are interested in printing your digital readings, you may do so at various printing kiosks on campus. Norlin Reference Librarians in the Norlin Library are available for assistance.

Computer / Technology Assistance

Free computer support is available through the Office of Information Technology, including help with your email, your Identikey, and any issues with your personal computer. If you are having difficulty during business hours, you will get a quicker response by calling their phone number: 303-735-HELP. You can also schedule a remote or in-person Buff Techs Desktop Support appointment. If you make an in-person appointment, they are located in the CASE Building E276 and in Norlin E105. They will ask you to swipe your BuffOne Card at the walk-in console when you arrive.


Canvas is a learning management system that instructors use for managing the online components of their classes. Watch a few of these helpful videos to become familiar with the various elements of Canvas, including assignments, quizzes, and discussion groups.

  • If you are taking your first online class or if it has been a while since your last online class, you might have questions about what to expect. To get started, please view this helpful webinar: “What to Expect in an Online Class.”

Below you will find additional campus resources to support you during your time as a student at CU Boulder. If you have any questions about these resources, feel free to contact


The Office of Student Employment manages listings for on-campus jobs and jobs off-campus in the local community (nannying, restaurants, yard work, etc.).

  • Student Employment lists both work study and non-work study positions. You can see if you are eligible for work study by checking your Financial Aid tile in Buff Portal. If you are eligible, make sure you inform the hiring manager.
  • Many of the positions on campus offer $15 per hour, and students are often surprised by the skills and experience they gain.
  • The jobs list is updated each week, and you can receive a weekly email update about the latest jobs posted. Please send an email from your address to: with the contents:
  • Students can also use Handshake for more extensive and career-related job listings including national and international opportunities. Handshake is CU’s online recruiting tool and includes over 20,000 employers.
  • Career Advising: The FWYS academic advisor is also a career advisor and can help with exploring career interests, utilizing various career assessment tools and methods, internship & job search strategies, resumes/cover letters, interview preparation and practice, and any questions about graduate school. You are also welcome to utilize Career Services in the Center for Community.

Writing Support

The CU Writing Center, located in Norlin E111, offers free assistance with writing assignments including improving clarity and helping with writer’s block and procrastination. Students can schedule remote and in-person appointments. Students taking CE classes can also access the Online Composition Hub for similar services.


The Office of Undergraduate Education offers a comprehensive tutoring page with details on free and fee-based services for specific departments, classes, and student populations, and you can also view resources relevant to you via the Tutoring & Learning Resources card in Buff Portal.

  • Students taking CE classes have the option to engage in up to 10 free hours of 24/7 tutoring services through Thinking Storm, which can be accessed via your CE course in Canvas.

Library Services

Reference Librarians are standing by to help with research and course assignments. They provide in-person assistance, as well as feedback on quick questions via the “Ask a Librarian” instant messaging service. You can also consult librarians based on subject matter expertise.

Basic Needs

The CU Basic Needs Center offers food assistance through Buff Pantry (open by appointment on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Weds), mobile food pantries, and SNAP support. Additionally, Community Food Share in Louisville is open Wednesdays through Fridays and is accessible to CU Boulder students. Just bring your student ID.

Mental Health Support

Fee paying students have access to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which is located in the Center for Community.

  • If you don’t pay the CAPS fee, you still have access to free mental health services through CU Boulder Telehealth by AcademicLiveCare. They offer mental health support 24/7 for all students, including access to licensed psychiatrists for mental health care and medication management and licensed dietitians for nutrition support and planning. All you need to do is schedule an appointment using your Identikey and the service key ALC.

Five decades after starting college, tenacious student to graduate

Rita Garson, now 76, will celebrate her special day at CU Boulder with her sister, adult children and grandchildren, two of whom are also alumni.

Colorado Arts and Sciences Magazine

Set up for success: CU Boulder taps into state-funded program to help residents complete degrees

Daily Camera

Hundreds of thousands of Coloradans have some college credits. This program gives them a second chance at a degree

The state’s Finish What You Started program helps students overcome financial obstacles and academic anxieties to return to school and finish their degree.

Colorado Sun

Contact Information

Have questions about the program?

(303) 492-9671

Connect with an Advisor

Now that you’ve selected your favorite Continuing Education courses, email or print the information, including class number, to more easily search Buff Portal and enroll. Still have questions? Contact an advisor.


Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado