A group of Colorado Springs students not only graduated from high school this spring, but also earned associate degrees, certificates, or college credits through the Colorado Early Colleges program.
The students are among 633 students statewide who received free post-secondary degrees while graduating from high school through Colorado Early Colleges, the state’s largest network of colleges and high schools.
Of 146 Colorado Springs graduates, 64 students earned an associate’s degree. Ninety-five percent of graduates earned a college diploma, certificate, or 60 or more credits.
Colorado Early Colleges, a nonprofit organization, consists of three college campuses, six high school campuses, and a direct college satellite office. It also offers part-time enrollment options for on-campus and online programs for home students and students attending tuition-based schools.
Students 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.
Colorado Early Colleges Colorado Springs was founded in 2007 as a tuition-free, open-enrollment charter high school. Its 600 students in grades 6 to 12 can enroll in college courses as soon as they’re ready.
Early high schools operate differently from other schools offering simultaneous enrollment, allowing students to go further in their college and professional studies.
At CEC, there is no restriction on the number of college credits or the minimum age a student must be to begin trading high school courses for college courses.
In addition, collaborative counseling with student and parents, internships and apprenticeships, and Clifton Strength Finder coaching give CEC students the opportunity to identify a career and pursue it throughout their studies.
Statewide, a significant number of CEC students have earned 60 or more college credits toward a university degree. Almost 50 percent of the CEC class of 2021 earned an associate’s degree during their high school careers. Based on an average community college credit hour rate, CEC has saved families of their students nearly $ 4 million in tuition and tuition fees.
“We are incredibly proud of our graduate students and our faculty and staff who have supported them during this difficult time,” said Sandi Brown, Executive Director of Colorado Early Colleges. “While headlines show many students falling behind in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEC students had the resources they needed to continue to be successful and meet their educational goals. “