First-Year Online Cohort

Begin Your Journey as a Buff

The First-Year Online Cohort is an opportunity for incoming first-year CU Boulder students to start earning credit online, building connections with other students, faculty, and CU Boulder alumni while maintaining social distance during the 2020-2021 academic year. 

The program provides a robust fully online academic and community experience:

  • Earn CU Boulder credit that is applied directly to your degree. 
  • Choose from a variety of high-quality online courses taught by CU Boulder’s world-class faculty.
  • Be part of a student cohort and connect with other CU Boulder students going through a similar experience.
  • Build a close-knit community of peers who will ease your transition to campus post-pandemic.
  • Network with peer mentors who can give you insights into how to get the most out of your time at CU Boulder. 

Program Eligibility and Enrollment 

  • Students eligible for this program must already be accepted to the University of Colorado Boulder and may not live on campus while part of the program. 
  • Students must be admitted to the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Media, Communication and Information (CMCI) or  the Program in Exploratory Studies.
  • Students must be Colorado residents.
  • Students may only participate for Spring 2021. 
  • Given the nature of the program as an online experience, participating students will not have access to campus resources like the Rec Center or Health Center.
  • Only the first 20 students admitted to the program are guaranteed a place in the cohort.
  • All cohort members will participate in a half-day orientation via Zoom on January 22, 2021. More information to come.

Ready to start your adventure as a Buff? Complete the sign-up form.

The priority deadline for the sign-up form is January 4, 2021.

Academic Program 

The First-Year Online Cohort gives students a strong academic introduction to CU Boulder by offering high-quality online courses designed and delivered by CU Boulder faculty. Start earning CU Boulder credit this year and avoid transferring credits from another institution since you plan to be on CU Boulder campus post-pandemic.

As a participating student, you will be cohorted with peers who share the same academic interests as you. Three of your courses will be taken as part of your peer cohort. You have the option to take an additional one or two courses of your choice.

Sample Semester Schedule

  • Introduction to CU Boulder course (FYXP 1500 for 1 credit) 
  • Freshman Writing Seminar (ENGL 1001)
  • An introductory course in your discipline area (ex. Biology, Economics, Psychology)
  • Free choice: Major course, General Education course, Elective

Your online courses will be offered through the Division of Continuing Education at CU Boulder. Continuing Education has a long history of offering robust online classes to CU Boulder students. These classes count for credit the same way main campus classes do. The classes automatically appear on your degree audit, calculate into your CU Boulder GPA, and appear on your transcript like any other class. You don’t need to take additional action to transfer these credits to your CU degree. 

Student Resources

We want you to succeed at CU Boulder. The university offers a variety of student resources and support to help you in all areas of your student journey.

Academic Advising

You will have access to your academic advisor just as you would if you were taking in-person classes on campus. Continuing Education advisors can also help walk you through each step of the process and answer any questions you have along the way. 

Tutoring, Writing and Research Support

  • Take advantage of tutoring support through Thinking Storm, an online tutoring service for CU Boulder students.
  • The Online Composition Hub has dedicated professionals who provide online writing support to students in all online classes.
  • University Libraries provide virtual research support from librarians who specialize in different academic disciplines

Other Campus Resources

  • The Office of Financial Aid: Talk to a financial aid counselor about your financial aid options for the 2020-21 school year.
  • Student Academic Success Center: This office is a multicultural academic learning community, serving low income and first generation college students. 
  • Disability Services: Explore available accommodations for online learning for students with diagnosed disabilities.
  • Career Services: Unsure about which major to choose? Or second guessing the major you listed on your application? Career Services offers remote support to all CU Boulder students.
  • Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS): Counselors are available to support you while you are away from campus. 
  • Veteran and Military Affairs: This office is a one-stop shop for all information and support for prospective and current student veterans and veteran dependents.  
  • CU LEAD Alliance: A unique set of academic learning communities whose students, faculty and staff are united to promote inclusive excellence.

Our students are the foundation of our success. We want you to join the CU Boulder community and share your unique strengths, interests, and goals with us. 

Even though we must social distance ourselves for now, the First-Year Online Cohort program offers several ways for you to connect and build relationships in your new academic home.

Student Cohorts

You will join a small group of up to 20 students called a cohort. Your cohort will take two CU Boulder online classes together, allowing you to foster connections with each other. This close-knit peer group will share similar experiences and give you a ready-made group of friends when you transition to in-person classes on CU Boulder’s campus next year. 

CU Boulder Network

You will have access to peer mentors–current CU Boulder students–who will serve as your liaisons to campus. They can offer tips and tricks for getting the most out of your classes and your time at the university. Through participation in your CU 101 course and optional activities outside the classroom, these students will help you navigate your first semester of college.

Through communication from your advisor and academic department, you will start to build a relationship with your academic home. Despite your distance from campus, you will be welcomed into the dynamic CU Boulder academic and social community. There will be opportunities to participate in a variety of virtual events this spring.


Tuition and Fees

Tuition for the First-Year Online Cohort program is charged per credit hour. This is a flat rate charged regardless of your college or program (Arts & Sciences, Program in Exploratory Studies or College of Media, Communication and Information).  

Tuition Rate for 2020-21 Academic Year

Cohort members pay $427 per credit hour for up to 11 credits. Tuition is capped at $5,124 for 12 or more credits.

All First-Year Online Cohort students will still receive the 2020-2021 tuition guarantee rate when they come to campus in Fall 2021.

Semester Fees

  • Career Services: $12
  • Students Computing: 
    • 6 credit hours or fewer:$33.62
    • 7 credit hours or more: $67.24
  • New Student Fee: $232

Billing Schedule and Payment Deadlines

Bills become available in Buff Portal (CUBill&Pay for authorized payers) by the second Thursday of each month after you register for classes. Payment is due on the 5th of the following month. Postmarks and post-dated checks are not honored. Dates may be subject to change without notice.

See the Bursar’s Office website for important dates.

Payment Plans

You may be eligible to pay your tuition and fees in installments over the course of the current semester. Optional payment plans are available for undergraduate students or their authorized payers. Re-enrollment is required each semester you choose to participate.

Financial Aid

You may qualify for financial aid and student loan programs to cover your educational costs. For additional information, please consult the Office of Financial Aid website. You can also speak to a financial aid counselor.


Contact Information



For direct contact and personalized service, schedule an appointment 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