Athletes training at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs will now be entitled to in-state tuition at local colleges after a bill was passed into law.
House Bill 1081 was signed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper earlier this month, which allows state-supported institutions to offer in-state tuition to American athletes who train in Colorado, regardless of permanent residency.
Hickenlooper signed the bill in front of United States Olympic Committee (USOC) chairman Larry Probst and a handful of athletes, including long-distance runner Jenny Simpson.
“If we’re lucky enough to have Olympians training in Colorado, wouldn’t we like them to go to school in Colorado and therefore be more likely to stay in Colorado after they finish competing?” said Hickenlooper.
Athletes must participate in a Colorado-based elite-level training program that is approved by both the USOC and a National Governing Body of an Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American or Parapan American sport to be eligible for the initiative.
The move has been praised by USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun.
We are thrilled to offer more American athletes the opportunity to pursue higher education through this legislation,” he said.
“Access to affordable education while training and competing will help athletes be better prepared to enter the workforce and successfully transition into a career after retiring from elite competition.”
The USOC estimate the bill could benefit an estimated 350 American athletes who live and train in Colorado – an increase from the nearly 40 competitors who took advantage of in-state tuition in 2016.
“Being eligible for in-state tuition made it possible for me to study at the university level while training and competing as a part of Team USA,” said Mirai Nagasu, a 2010 Olympian in figure skating.
“As I prepare to qualify for the Olympic Games, I am grateful for the opportunity to lead a balanced and productive lifestyle that will further the goals of both myself and Team USA.”
By Liam Morgan
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.