Accelerating Students through Concurrent Enrollment (ASCENT) FAQ

  • ASCENT is a 5th year high school program that allows qualified students to participate in concurrent enrollment the year after 12th grade. DPS ASCENT students receive free tuition/fees while also receiving wrap-around advising and support during the critical transition from high school to college. Students choose to attend college at one of 8 participating technical-, community-, or 4 year-colleges the year following graduation from high school. Students must apply by March 1st of their senior year and qualify by earning 9+ college credits by graduation.

  • What is the ASCENT Program (Accelerating Students through Concurrent Enrollment)?

    The ASCENT program is a 5th year high school program allowing students to attend college full-time for one year after high school for free. Students attend a participating technical-, community-, or 4 year college the year following graduation from high school.  ASCENT students technically remain high school students in their 5th year but take all college courses at an approved institution. Students qualify for the ASCENT program by completing 9 credits of college level coursework prior to their 5th year (developmental education courses do not count) and being college ready as determined for their chosen course of studies.  Passed into Colorado law in 2009, the ASCENT program gives students a head start in earning a certificate, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree while saving time and money. The DPS ASCENT team provides participating students with wrap-around advising services to support the critical transition from high school to college.  

  • How is the ASCENT Program different from Concurrent Enrollment?

    The ASCENT Program is for students that have fulfilled all district graduation requirements at the end of four years and completed 9 credit hours of transcripted post-secondary coursework by the end of their senior year. Eligible ASCENT students take a 5th year of post-secondary classes through Denver Public Schools but all classes are taken on a college campus. Concurrent Enrollment is for all high school students. It is an opportunity to take college classes while still in high school.

  • What is the GPA requirement for students to take ASCENT Program classes?

    It is strongly encouraged, but not required, for students to have a 2.75 GPA.

  • How will funding be determined when there are unlimited requests for ASCENT Program participation but limited dollars?

    Funding will be up to school districts. However, the timeline and prerequisites will limit requests.  The Colorado Department of Education Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Board determines what each school district will receive then the districts allocate according to their own methodology.

  • What amount of tuition will students be eligible for? 

    Full tuition and fees for Fall and Spring of the ASCENT year is covered. The ASCENT Program cannot pay for summer courses. 

  • Are books and fees included in the funding for the ASCENT Program?

    Students in the ASCENT Program have their tuition and fees paid for through the district.  Textbook coverage varies year to year based on funding.  In addition, ASCENT has a small number of graphing calculators available for checkout on a first-come first-serve basis and all ASCENT students can check out a Chromebook for the year through the DPS MyTech program.  Any "consumables" such as tools, goggles, lab coats, art supplies, etc, are paid for by the student.

  • Is there a transition period for students so that they do not necessarily have to have 9 credits to participate in the ASCENT Program?

    No. The legislation is clear about the 9 credit hour requirement.  However, the Colorado Department of Education Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Board can make recommendations if needed.

  • If there is a grade that is pass/fail but counts as a college credit, would it count?

    It would depend on the specific higher education institution policy.

  • Can students use CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) and Advanced Placement (AP) for ASCENT Program eligibility?

    Students can use qualifying CLEP, AP, and IB scores for ASCENT eligibility if it is transcribed on a college transcript by June 30th of a student's senior year. AP exams with a score of 3 or higher can be transcribed on a college transcript and qualifying CLEP scores vary by assessment. It is the student’s responsibility to have the credits transcribed on a college transcript.  Please contact your high school counselor or the DPS ASCENT Coordinator for assistance. 

  • Are students who take developmental education courses eligible for the ASCENT Program?

    Eligible high school seniors may take developmental education courses, but that coursework does not qualify as part of the 9 credit hours of college coursework required for ASCENT Program eligibility.

  • Can students attend a two-year or four-year institution?

    Yes, students can attend either as long as an MOU agreement is in place between the district and institution of higher education.

  • In the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement, is there a disclosure so that information can be released to the high school and the parent(s)?

    When students enroll in a college course, they are treated the same as any other college student.  The college cannot share information with families, and the student is solely responsible for releasing information to their families. The district/high school and institution of higher education can share information between entities because they both have an educational interest in the student.

  • Are there separate Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreements for Concurrent Enrollment and ASCENT Program?

    Yes, the Career & College Success Department establishes and maintains these agreements.