Illuminating the Pathway to Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities Through Concurrent Enrollment


Since legislation passed in 2009, the number of Colorado high school students enrolled in college courses has increased dramatically. 97% of Colorado school districts now offer concurrent enrollment and have experienced an 11% growth in student participation.

During the past few years, Colorado has made a concerted effort to improve equity in all college in high school programs. And their efforts have paid off. Participation rates for all race/ethnicity categories are increasing, including 23% for African American, 18% for Hispanic and 27% for Asian students. The demographics of concurrent enrollment participation now closely resemble the composition of Colorado public high schools for almost all groups, with one exception — students with disabilities.

Through the joint efforts of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Department of Education, the Colorado Community College System and with support from the Governor’s Office, Colorado was chosen to receive technical
assistance from the College in High School Alliance (CHSA).

Using the recently released framework, Unlocking the Potential of College in High School Programs for Students with Disabilities, we have created a unique landscape analysis for Colorado that both identifies barriers faced by students with disabilities in accessing concurrent enrollment as well as potential action steps to address these obstacles.

"This guidance and the strategies outlined in this report are critical to increasing successful participation of students with disabilities in Concurrent Enrollment—and are timely as we grow access and outcomes for students with disabilities in higher education as directed by recent legislation."

Carl Einhaus, Senior Director of Student Success & P-20 Alignment and Colorado GEAR UP Project Director, Colorado Department of Higher Education


This report considers three pressing issues Colorado must address to improve concurrent enrollment access and success for students with disabilities. Each issue is followed by a series of strategies to help the state define the participation gap in concurrent enrollment for students with disabilities and clearly articulate the pathway to improve access and success for students with disabilities.

  1. Strengthen data collection for students with disabilities regarding their participation in concurrent enrollment opportunities.
  2. Increase access to concurrent enrollment for students with disabilities.
  3. Provide students with disabilities the services and supports necessary to succeed in concurrent enrollment.

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Illuminating the Pathway to Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities Through Concurrent Enrollment