COLORADO, USA — Lawmakers are working to educate students about the option to take college courses while in high school to get credit for both while paying $0 in tuition.

A report by the Colorado Department of Higher Education shows that 30,979 students participated in concurrent enrollment in 2017-18. Concurrent enrollment means a student takes one course that earns credit for both high school and college at the same time.

Lawmakers are working to increase that number by giving information to students every year and expanding where concurrent enrollment will be offered.

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A 2019 bill dubbed, "Expanding Concurrent Enrollment Opportunities" will increase the availability of concurrent enrollment starting in the 2020-21 school year. Under the legislation, every "local education provider" (school districts, charter schools, and the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind) must offer concurrent enrollment opportunities for students in 9th-12th grade. There will be no limit to the number of credits the student can take to earn high school and college credit for academic, career, and technical education courses.

Qualified students will be able to take approved courses at no cost to them or their guardians other than textbooks and fees. Tuition will be paid by each high school's per-pupil budget. Additional funding will come from the Innovation Grant Program which is paid for by the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund and State Education Fund.

A bill proposed this year builds on the 2019 law. It's called "Middle School Students Concurrent Enrollment Information" and will require local education providers to inform students and their families about concurrent enrollment every school year starting in 6th grade. 

"I think a lot more people would have been interested in this bill if we said it cuts the cost of 4-year college by 50% or 2-year college for free, which it does," said a Colorado senator this week at the Colorado Senate Education committee. "This short circuits the need for free college" 

More information will be made available on the Colorado Department of Education website on July 1. Currently, the website is not updated to reflect the changes made by the 2019 legislation. 

Check back on that date to learn more about requirements, options, cost, enrollment deadlines, and benefits of concurrent enrollment.

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