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Dual enrollment chases after superior education

Recent Updates in dual enrollment

Photo credit: Sofia Shappell

Dual enrollment, also known as concurrent enrollment, has provided students with opportunities to further their education through the addition of more credits. Dual enrollment allows students to enroll at separate academic institutions with multiple course-loads and classes at each. Although there are factors and debates on national education funding, dual enrollment programs provide students with more flexibility and help to progress their education and career plans. Recently, the state of Colorado received $400,000 to study the effectiveness of dual enrollment programs and plan for expansion. However, with the annual seven percent increase of high school students taking dual enrollment courses, according to the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, the overall impact of this program has trended positive.

With the widespread availability of dual enrollment programs, one can only speculate what positive effects the program would have if expanded. The history of dual enrollment programs in Colorado was most significantly marked by the passing of framework for school districts to work with Colorado colleges and universities in 2009.

Since the implementation of this framework, many high school students in Colorado have taken advantage of dual enrollment to further their educational goals. According to the Colorado Department of Education and Higher Education, during the 2015-2016 school year, more than 30 percent of 11th and 12th graders in the state participated in some type of dual enrollment program, a 7.9 percent increase from the previous year’s participation. With increased funding, the number of students who participate in dual enrollment programs will most likely increase due to growing availability in school districts.

At CU Denver, early planning and accessibility to dual enrollment programs in high school help students get ahead in their education. Two programs that are currently available for high school students are the CU Denver High School District Concurrent Enrollment Program and CU SUCCEED. The High School District Concurrent Enrollment Program allows students with certain fulfilled eligibility requirements to enroll in postsecondary institutions while still in high school. The benefit of this program is that rather than the student and their family having to pay for the cost of college, the individual school districts reimburse the college-level tuition; this leaves the student only responsible for student fees, books, transportation, and whatever additional tuition costs there may be.

Another program, CU SUCCEED, offers high school students the opportunity to gain exposure to college experiences by enrolling at University of Colorado classes located at their high school and are taught at a reduced tuition rate. The benefit of this program is that all courses not only qualify for credit toward high school graduation but also toward a CU Denver transcript.

Ultimately, the current research for dual and concurrent enrollment in the state of Colorado will help to determine the future of the program. If proven effective, it is possible that the funding for the overall program will increase and more students will be able to benefit from this and advance their education.

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