While dual enrollment often is touted as a way to motivate struggling students, that’s not who’s enrolling in Colorado, reports the Denver Post. Dual enrollment attracts successful students who hope to cut college costs.
“My English class was a lot of work, but I had already taken AP English and IB classes before these college classes, so it’s been pretty easy,” said Vonia Adams, a concurrent-enrollment student from Hinkley High School in Aurora.
Concurrent-enrollment programs authorized by state law allow high schoolers to take college classes, paid for by their home districts. Students first take the Accuplacer test or the ACT and must test at a college level, unless they are in 12th grade.
Most concurrently enrolled students attend community colleges.
Colorado also offers ASCENT, which lets students to stay in high school for a fifth year so they can graduate with a diploma and an associate’s degree.
“When you have no clue about what college you can go to or what you want to study, this is a great opportunity because I would have only been able to pay for a few classes,” said Sally Varela, an ASCENT student from Aurora Central High School.
Varela became a certified nursing assistant and earned a business certificate using the concurrent-enrollment programs while in high school.
Next year, the state expects about 750 students will enroll in the ASCENT program, at an estimated cost of $4 million.
To make the funding go farther, the Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Board may remove students who qualify for Pell Grants to serve students with no other way to pay for college, the Post reports.