In May 2009, the Colorado State Legislature passed House Bill 09-1319 and Senate Bill 09-285, the Concurrent Enrollment Programs Act. The act created the concurrent enrollment program, defined as, “the simultaneous enrollment of a qualified student in a local education provider and in one or more postsecondary courses, including academic or career and technical education courses, which may include course work related to apprenticeship programs or internship programs, at an institution of higher education.”
The collective intent of the Concurrent Enrollment Programs Act is to:
- Broaden access to and improve the quality of concurrent enrollment programs
- Improve coordination between institutions of secondary education and institutions of higher education
- Ensure financial transparency and accountability
Beyond coordinating and clarifying the existing concurrent enrollment programs, the bill also creates the “5th year” ASCENT program for students to continue participating in concurrent enrollment for one year following their 12th grade year.Concurrent enrollment programs provide high school students with the opportunity to enroll in postsecondary courses and earn credit at no cost to them for tuition. Colorado data show that students in concurrent enrollment programs are more likely to enroll in postsecondary education, have higher postsecondary grade point averages and retention rates and a decreased need for remediation.