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Colorado Early Colleges (CEC) is the state’s largest network of early college middle and high schools. They announced that nearly three-quarters of their 2021 graduating class of 633 students statewide had received a post-secondary credential for free while earning their high school diploma. Graduates come from across the Front Range, attending CEC schools and Colorado community colleges in and near Aurora, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Parker, Castle Rock, and Inverness, representing a wide diversity of socio-economic status, educational background, and family status.
Early college high schools operate differently from other schools offering concurrent enrollment, allowing students to get farther ahead in their college and career pursuits. At CEC, there is no restriction on the number of college credits or minimum age a student needs to begin swapping high school classes for college courses. In addition, collaborative advising with the student and parents, internships and apprenticeships, and Clifton Strength Finder coaching give CEC students more opportunity to identify a career and pursue it as they earn their education.
For the 2018-2019 academic year, Colorado Department of Education statistics indicate that less than 20% of students statewide attempt dual-enrollment while 73% of CEC 2021 graduates ACHIEVED a post-secondary credential to include associates degrees or industry certifications. Additionally, a significant number of CEC students completed 60 or more college credits in preparation for a university degree. Nearly 50% of the CEC class of 2021 have earned an associate degree during their high school career. CEC has saved their students’ families almost $4 million in college tuition and fees based on average credit hour rates for community colleges.
With tuition and fees consistently rising at both in-state and out-of-state higher educational institutions, it becomes more critical for families to seek educational opportunities to help minimize the burden of higher education costs. Families also need to prepare their students to participate in a rapidly changing workforce.
“We are so incredibly proud of our graduating students as well as our faculty and staff who supported them through this challenging time,” says Sandi Brown, Colorado Early Colleges chief executive administrator. “While news headlines show so many students falling behind in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEC students had the resources they needed to continue to be successful and to achieve their educational goals.”
Local CEC Graduation Achievements:
Fort Collins: 233 graduates earning more than 10,200 college credits
- 170 students earning an associate degree
- 88 post-secondary and industry certifications awarded
- 4 students earned 60+ college credits
- 73% of the class earned a degree, certificate, or 60+ college credits
For more information on Colorado Early Colleges, visit www.coloradoearlycolleges.org