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Dual enrollment programs are on the rise that align high school and college

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Dual enrollment is on the rise, an option that allows students to simultaneously gain college credits that will go towards a college degree while still in high school. According to the Community College Research Center, community colleges saw a 12% spike this academic year in dual enrollment.

At Pikes Peak State College and throughout Colorado, dual enrollment is referred to as concurrent enrollment.

PPSC officials said they see a 5-15% increase in the program year over year. The program has grown 24% in the last five years. In the last ten years, it's more than doubled.

Through concurrent enrollment at PPSC, students can participate in the program in one of two ways. Students can either be taught at the high school by PPSC instructors who come to their schools to teach, or they have the option to go to the college campus itself for the course.

"We've certainly seen a rise," Pikes Peak State College VP of Strategic Partnership Chelsy Harris said. "We have over 3,000 high school students who participate currently within PPSC and it's growing every year."

Dual enrollment can streamline the path from high school to the workforce, or quicken the path to a bachelor's degree. By allowing high school students to simultaneously earn an associate's degree while in high school, or begin towards their bachelor's.

It's also an option to trim the cost of school. Some colleges offer these dual enrollment courses at a lower tuition rate to high school students, or completely free.

At Pikes Peak State College, the student's school district pays the tuition. Making the concurrent enrollment program completely free to students.

"Some of that increase is due to parents becoming more aware of the increasing cost of education on a postsecondary level," Harris said. "I think people are really examining where their time and money go."

PPSC is holding concurrent information nights in March and April to educate high school students and their families about the program.

  • Tuesday, March 21 at the Centennial Campus Room A140 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 6 at the Rampart Campus Room W101 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

PPSC also has a program called ASCENT, which continues free tuition for students after high school graduation through their freshman year of college.

On a national level, President Biden is urging Congress this week to fund the "Career-Connected High Schools Initiative."

This would provide $200 million to dual enrollment programs, work-based learning, and college and career advising for students in high school.

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Natasha Lynn

Natasha is a reporter for Good Morning Colorado during the week and on weekends.


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