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New website helps Colorado high school students discover programs for earning college credit while still in high school

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DENVER – Colorado high school students can find information about how to earn college credit while they are still in high school on a new website created by the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Higher Education.  

The website, which is required by legislation passed in 2019, contains information about dual and Concurrent Enrollment programs, including their costs, benefits and eligibility requirements. It is designed to help students get an early start on college classes while in high school and begin navigating their path toward college completion.  

"Concurrent Enrollment, ASCENT and other programs provide an affordable way for high school students to earn college credit," said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. "One of the barriers to these opportunities has been that it’s a little complicated to get information about the courses and how things work at each high school. This new website will really help students and their families understand the opportunities and get a jump start on their college or career plans."

"We know that Concurrent Enrollment is a powerful tool that gives students the confidence to tackle college-level work," said Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. "Our hope is that this new website engages our historically disenfranchised students, activating their potential through successful completion and gives them the best shot to secure a vibrant future."

Nearly 46,000 students took at least one dual enrollment course during the 2017-18 academic year, representing almost 35% of all 11th and 12th graders in Colorado’s public high schools. With about 4,000 more students enrolled during that year, participation was up 10 percentage points with significant growth among students of color. Dual enrollment refers to the broad array of programs available to high school students that allow them to take college-level courses for free. Concurrent Enrollment refers only to statewide programs created by House Bill 09-1319 and detailed in the Concurrent Enrollment Programs Act. 

"We thank the bill sponsors and our partners at CDE and CDHE for their diligent work to help us grow Concurrent Enrollment," said Joe Garcia, chancellor of the Colorado Community College System. "Our 13 colleges currently provide 83% of Concurrent Enrollment statewide, saving families over $26 million annually in tuition costs, and giving thousands of students a jumpstart on their college journey."

Always tuition-free, Concurrent Enrollment programs provide high school students the opportunity to enroll in college-level courses, earning high school and college credit simultaneously. Colorado’s Concurrent Enrollment program, established by the state legislature in 2009, was the most popular choice among dual enrollment programs for the fourth year in a row: 2,679 more students opted for CE classes in 2017-18 from the previous year, continuing an annual growth rate of about 10% per year. Statewide, 173 school districts -- or 97% -- and 85% of high schools offer CE programs. 

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