The University of Denver campus is seen on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters

Over 13,000 Colorado residents have earned more than 70 college credits at four-year state universities in the past five years but stopped short of a degree, according to the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

Now, a new Colorado law lets universities award those students with an associate’s degree.

Giving students with some college an associate’s degree won’t drastically enhance their potential earnings or change why students dropped out in the first place. But the program could open up new pathways for universities to bring those students back to finish their bachelor’s degrees.

Colorado is believed to be one the first to put into place a statewide law like this.

The state also set aside $51 million to help those students complete their degrees. To be eligible to receive a portion of that money, universities must develop a plan to attract and engage students.

Read more at chalkbeat.org.

Jason Gonzales, Chalkbeat Colorado

Twitter: @ByJasonGonzales