DUAL ENROLLMENT

COLORADO

Education leaders in Colorado have included concurrent enrollment as state strategy to double the number of postsecondary degrees earned by state residents and reduce the number of students who drop out of high school. Although concurrent enrollment programs existed in Colorado for many years, a lack of state coordination and support limited student access to college courses in high school.  With the 2009 passage of the Concurrent Enrollment Programs Act, the state took deliberate steps to expand such opportunities to a wider range of students, particularly those who live in communities with historically low college participation rates.

The legislation consolidated concurrent enrollment policies into a comprehensive plan. It also created the Accelerating Students Through Concurrent Enrollment Program—ASCENT. Eligible seniors can remain enrolled in high school for a fifth year that consists entirely of college courses.  Many ASCENT students graduate from high school having completed an Associate’s degree. ASCENT is funded through an annual appropriation which totaled $4.3 million in 2012. The law also included provisions to improve the quality, coordination, and financial transparency of the state’s concurrent enrollment programs.  

These policies lay the groundwork for promoting conditions that support early college strategies for low-income students. Students who meet the requirements to enroll in specific higher education courses can enroll concurrently as early as the freshman year of high school. Each postsecondary institution determines how it will assess a student’s level of readiness for enrolling in those college-level courses.

Colorado’s finance system for supporting the taking of college courses in high school is also supportive. Secondary and postsecondary institutions may each claim per-pupil reimbursements for concurrent enrollees. Through a mandatory cooperative agreement, school districts and postsecondary institutions establish the rate for reimbursement of concurrent enrollment courses. The districts pay the tuition costs of concurrent enrollees at the in-state rate for either two-year or four-year colleges, depending on the type of partnering institution.

The cooperative agreement between districts and postsecondary institutions must articulate the standards for course quality and instructor qualifications. This is to ensure that college courses offered to high school students are as rigorous as those offered on college campuses to traditional college students. The partners also must specify support responsibilities.

A nine-member advisory board comprised of K-12 and higher education stakeholders oversees Colorado’s concurrent enrollment programs. The panel advises and assists school districts and postsecondary institutions in preparing cooperative agreements, and it can recommend changes to state policies in order to improve programs.

During the 2010-11 academic year, 20,773 students from more than 240 Colorado high schools participated in a dual enrollment program.

 

Policies

States should broaden eligibility requirements to permit students to participate in credit-bearing, college-level courses based on proficiency in those subjects even if they are not proficient in others. Student eligibility should also be jointly determined by secondary and postsecondary and use multiple measures: a combination of tests, end-of-course grades, teacher recommendations, and students’ work portfolios.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility requirements are determined by the secondary and postsecondary sectors together.

Not in Evidence

Postsecondary institutions determine eligibility requirements for concurrent enrollment programs.

POLICY ELEMENT: High school students can participate in college courses based on their proficiency in those subjects, even if they are not proficient in others.

Not in Evidence

Students have to meet college admission standards for non remedial courses in all subject areas. More specifically, high school students need to meet minimum standards for state system institutions based upon scores on the ACT/SAT or a high school GPA of 3.0/4.0 and class rank.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility is determined by a combination of tests, end-of-course grades, teacher recommendations, and student academic work.

In Evidence

Eligibility criteria provide multiple ways for students to become eligible for dual enrollment. For example, if students are unable to meet the minimum score on the ACT/SAT, they can still qualify for concurrent enrollment based on GPA and class rank.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility requirements are determined by the secondary and postsecondary sectors together.

 

In Evidence

Although qualified students submit a standardized application to the secondary school superintendent for approval, the nature of voluntary cooperative agreements established between secondary and postsecondary institutions suggests that student eligibility is determined collaboratively. 

 

POLICY ELEMENT: High school students can participate in college courses based on their proficiency in those subjects even if they are not proficient in others.

 

In Evidence

The 2009 Concurrent Enrollment Programs Act states, “A qualified student who intends to concurrently enroll in a college course shall satisfy the minimum prerequisites for the course prior to his or her enrollment in the course.”

 

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility is determined by a combination of tests, end-of-course grades, teacher recommendations, and student’s work.

 

Not in Evidence

Eligibility must be determined at the discretion of the school superintendent and the participating postsecondary institution. State policy does not specifically mention course prerequisites for enrollment in college coursework or ways that students can demonstrate academic readiness.

States should ensure that college courses offered to high school students use the same syllabi and exams as comparable courses taught on a college campus, and that dual enrollees can receive dual-credit so they earn both high school and college credits upon successfully completing courses. In addition, the postsecondary institution conferring credit should set the qualifications for faculty teaching dual-credit courses.

POLICY ELEMENT: Students have the opportunity to take college courses for dual credit so they earn both high school and college credits upon successfully completing courses.

 

In Evidence

Credits earned for dual enrollment courses must count at both the secondary and postsecondary levels, and credits must count toward meeting high school graduation requirements.

 

POLICY ELEMENT:College courses offered within secondary schools use the same syllabi and exams as comparable courses taught on a college campus.

 

Not in Evidence

State policy does not address this issue.

POLICY ELEMENT: The postsecondary institution conferring credit sets the qualifications for faculty teaching courses taken for dual credit.

 

Not in Evidence

Postsecondary and secondary education institutions must include instructor qualifications as a provision of their cooperative agreement; however, instructor qualifications are not set in state policy.

States should develop funding policies that allow high school students to take college courses free of tuition and non-course-related charges, and that allow both districts and postsecondary institutions to claim per-pupil funding allocations to support the cost of offering college courses for dual-credit. There should also be provisions or special appropriations to support the development of early college schools targeting students who are underrepresented in higher education.

POLICY ELEMENT: Funding policies to support dual enrollment in the state create incentives for school districts to partner with institutions of higher education to offer dual credit opportunities for students.

 

In Evidence

Secondary and postsecondary institutions can establish average daily attendance and full-time equivalent student enrollment rates for dual enrollees. 

 

POLICY ELEMENT: Funding policies for dual enrollment support access for low-income high school students who are interested in taking college courses.

 

Not in Evidence

School districts are required to pay tuition to postsecondary institutions, but postsecondary institutions may also charge additional tuition to the students.

 

POLICY ELEMENT: Funding streams are flexible enough that funds can be used for professional development, books, lab fees, and student transportation.

 

Not in Evidence

Districts are not required to provide or pay for transportation to and from concurrent enrollment courses. Other fees are not addressed in the statute.

States should report annually on dual enrollment participation and impact and develop administrative structures to support program leaders and dual enrollment partnerships. States should also designate a state board or governing body as having the authority and responsibility to guide dual enrollment policy.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should designate a state board or governing body as having the authority and responsibility to guide dual enrollment policy, and develop administrative structures to support program leaders and dual enrollment partners.

 

In Evidence

The Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Board is comprised of representatives from all education sectors. The Board is responsible for facilitating the implementation of concurrent enrollment programs in the state and providing policy recommendations.

 

POLICY ELEMENT: States should report annually on dual enrollment participation and impact.   

 

In Evidence

The Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Board provides annual comprehensive reports that document the level of participation and student outcomes in concurrent enrollment programs throughout the state.

States should develop unit-record statewide data systems that identify dual enrollees by demographic characteristics and monitor student progress longitudinally across the K-12 and higher education systems.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should develop unit-record statewide data systems that identify dual enrollees by demographic characteristics and monitor student progress longitudinally across the K-12 and higher education systems.

 

In Evidence

Colorado mandates extensive data collection that features the progress of concurrent enrollment students and includes information about student performance.

States should require that districts and postsecondary institutions specify and document key roles and responsibilities in memoranda of understanding or cooperative agreements, including the provision of a college liaison for student advisement and support. States should also provide support and funding for programs designed to serve students who are over-age and undercredited, as well as youth who have dropped out of high school.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should require that districts and postsecondary institutions specify and document key roles and responsibilities in memoranda of understanding or cooperative agreements.

 

In Evidence

Institutions must delineate specific support responsibilities in their cooperative agreements, though secondary institutions are chiefly responsible for providing ongoing counseling and career planning for concurrent enrollees.

 

POLICY ELEMENT: States should require each dual enrollment partnership to provide a liaison between high school and college partners, with responsibilities for advising students, assisting with course scheduling, and linking students to support services.

 

Not in Evidence

Statute does not expressly address the role of a liaison between the high school and the college.

Jobs for the Future | 88 Broad St., 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02110 | tel 617.728.4446 | fax 617.728.4857 | www.jff.org
Copyright © 2017 - Jobs for the Future. All rights reserved.
Application programming by: Chapman PHP
x