Project Abstract

Colorado has set the goal of reaching 66 percent postsecondary educational attainment among adults age 25 to 34 by 2025, a target that would require an increase of approximately 10 percentage points over five years. Concurrent Enrollment refers to Colorado’s statewide dual enrollment program created by House Bill 09-1319 and detailed in the Concurrent Enrollment Programs Act (C.R.S. §22-35-101 et seq.), where high school students earn credit for college-level courses. This study shows Concurrent Enrollment to be highly effective in increasing college graduation for high school students in Colorado. The sample includes students across different demographics and academic abilities. Compared to students who did not take college courses while in high school, students who took Concurrent Enrollment courses were more likely to: (1) attend college within one year following high school graduation, (2) earn a college degree on time or early, and (3) have higher workforce earnings after five years. Increasing awareness about the effectiveness of the Concurrent Enrollment program is important so that families make informed choices for high school students. Concurrent Enrollment can boost students’ confidence in their ability to attend college, resulting in matriculation and completion. It can also reassure families that college can be more affordable with tuition-free Concurrent Enrollment courses reducing the cost and time it takes to earn a degree. Thus, Concurrent Enrollment has an important role to play in increasing the number of Coloradans that graduate from college as young adults.


Colorado Department of Higher Education

Research Partners: 

Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado Boulder


Policy Brief: Does Concurrent Enrollment Improve College Access, Success, Time-To-Degree and Earnings? 

A Quasi-Experimental Analysis of Colorado Students

Technical Report: Does Concurrent Enrollment Improve College Access, Success, Time-To-Degree and Earnings? 

A Quasi-Experimental Analysis of Colorado Students

Nearly 75% of jobs in Colorado require some education beyond high school but only 66% of the state’s adult population has such qualifications. This study investigated the potential of the state’s Concurrent Enrollment program to increase the number of adults with postsecondary experience. Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the Colorado Lab provided technical assistance for the quantitative portion of this project. As displayed in the one-pager above, Concurrent Enrollment dramatically increases postsecondary access and persistence in Colorado. More details about these findings can be found in the publications posted under Phase II of this work.

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