Vail Valley students beat state in college-class dual enrollment numbers | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley students beat state in college-class dual enrollment numbers

EAGLE — Local high school students are enrolled in college-level classes at higher than the state average, up to 150 percent of the statewide rate depending on how you crunch the numbers.

Almost half of Eagle County students — 47 percent — take college courses through high school, including dual enrollment and Advance Placement classes.

Across Colorado, the dual enrollment rate is 30 percent. The Colorado Department of Education does not include Advanced Placement classes in its calculations. Both numbers are growing, according to the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

The dual enrollment program refers to college courses students take while in high school.

"By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the country will require post-secondary education or training beyond high school, with 30 percent of those jobs requiring some college or an associate degree and 35 percent requiring a bachelor's degree or more," Eagle County Schools Superintendent Jason Glass said.

Last year, 13 Vail Valley students graduated from Colorado Mountain College with an associates degree before they earned their high school diplomas.

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"Thanks to state and Eagle County programs that allow students to earn college credit without having to pay tuition, such as concurrent enrollment, ASCENT and Early College High School and the $1,000 President's Scholarship that Colorado Mountain College offers to all graduating high school seniors in the CMC district, a local student can earn an associate degree or certificate, or even a substantial part of a bachelor's degree, at no cost. And on top of this, the CMC Foundation offers tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships every year," said Dr. Kathryn Regjo, CMC Vail Valley vice president.

Longtime local program

Eagle County Schools and Colorado Mountain College have been offering college classes to high school students since 2002.

The state caught up in 2009 when the state legislature created a framework for school districts to enter into agreements with Colorado colleges and universities enabling students to enroll in college courses tuition-free.

'Aware of the benefits'

"We've long been aware of the benefits these programs offer, giving high school students an early college start and boosting college-going rates. While I am pleased with the program growth, we still have too many high school students who do not have this opportunity. We must work collaboratively to change that," said Colorado Department of Higher Education Executive Director Kim Hunter Reed.

Research shows students in dual enrollment programs are more likely to enroll and persist in college than their peers and less likely to need remedial education, Reed said.

"When students have the opportunity to take rigorous college courses while they are still in high school, it opens their eyes to the opportunities of a college education and empowers them to succeed when they arrive on campus," said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

By the numbers

Dual enrollment:

30 percent (38,519 total): Number of Colorado’s 11th- and 12th-graders who participated in some type of dual enrollment program during the 2015-16 school year.

31 percent (609 total): Eagle County students in dual enrollment college classes.

47 percent: Eagle County students in Advanced Placement and dual enrollment classes.

Locally by school, 2016-17:

Eagle Valley: 276 students, 464 classes

Battle Mountain: 220 students, 352 classes

Red Canyon: Nine students, 10 classes

Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy: 37 students, 43 classes

Total: 552 students, 913 classes

Source: Colorado Department of Higher Education

and Colorado Department of Education.