Frequently Asked Questions
What is ASCENT?
In May 2009, the Colorado State Legislature passed House Bill 09-1319 and Senate Bill 09-285, the Concurrent Enrollment Programs Act. The collective intent is to broaden access to and improve the quality of concurrent enrollment programs, improve coordination between institutions of secondary education and institutions of higher education, and ensure financial transparency and accountability. This legislation also created the ASCENT program.
ASCENT stands for “Accelerating Students through Concurrent Enrollment.” It is a "5th Year Program" that allows seniors to remain enrolled at the high school and take a fifth year consisting entirely of college classes on the college campus - if they have met all of their high school graduation requirements and have taken 12 credit hours of college classes prior to the end of their senior year.
How would ASCENT benefit students?
By participating in this program, a student will get to take college classes for the 2016-17 school year while Cherry Creek Schools pays their college tuition (see below for tuition details). Many students finish the ASCENT Program having completed an Associates Degree.
How do students qualify for the program?
- Remain enrolled at the high school for a fifth year (they do not attend classes at the high school).
- Be under the age of 21.
- Be on track to meet all high school graduation requirements by the end of their senior year.
- Have completed, or be on track to complete, at least 12 credit hours of college course work prior to the completion of the12th grade year. AP and IB classes do not count as they are high school classes. CU Succeed and Concurrent Enrollment classes do count. Also, developmental education do not count (i.e. MAT 025/055, CCR 092/094)
- Not be in need of remedial course work as defined by the Colorado
- Commission on Higher Education's (CCHE) remedial education policy.
- Have satisfied the minimum prerequisites for the college courses before enrollment in the course, including having the required ACT or Accuplacer or CCPT scores.
- Complete an Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) with your high school counselor.
- Apply to and be accepted into the public Colorado postsecondary institution where they plan to take college classes.
- Have not participated in the ASCENT program in previous years.
Should all qualified students participate in ASCENT?
No. The following students should not participate:
- Students who want to attend college out of state their freshman year.
- Students who want to play inter-collegiate sports (NCAA) their freshman year.
- Students who will require federal financial aid (federal student loans, federal grants) to cover expenses not covered by ASCENT.
How much college tuition will Cherry Creek pay?
Cherry Creek will pay tuition at the local community college tuition rate. If a student attends a school other than a community college, he/she will only be eligible for the amount of tuition at the local community college tuition rate. The payment of any tuition charged above the community college rate would be the responsibility of the student.
Do students have to reimburse Cherry Creek for the cost of tuition?
Students who pass their classes with a grade of "D" or better do not reimburse Cherry Creek for the amount of tuition paid. However, students who drop a course after the college drop deadline or receive a failing grade ("F") will be required to reimburse the district for the amount of tuition paid.
Will Cherry Creek pay for student’s room, board, books, supplies, and fees at the college?
No. CCSD will only pay for tuition (at the community college rate). Students will be responsible for paying all other fees and expenses.
Does participating in this program impact the amount of financial aid a student may receive?
Yes. Students are not eligible for any federal student financial aid including federal student loans and grants while participating in ASCENT. Students will qualify for federal aid after they have completed or dropped the program. Students may disqualify themselves from certain scholarships or grants since 12 semester hours or more earned in college may cause the student to be classified as a transfer student rather than a freshman. It is important for families to weigh all of their financial options before committing to the ASCENT program.
If students stay enrolled at the high school for a 5th year, when will they be considered a high school graduate?
Until students complete the 5th year ASCENT program, they will still be classified as a high school student. The high school transcript will show high school graduation requirements have been met and student is considered enrolled in ASCENT for a 5th year.
Will students be able to participate in a high school graduation?
Yes! Students will still participate in the graduation ceremony with their high school class. Upon completion of the ASCENT year, students will receive a high school diploma.
Where can students take college classes?
Students can take classes at any two-year or four-year public Colorado school that has an ASCENT agreement in place with Cherry Creek Schools.
Is there a limit to the number of credits a student can take?
If a student is taking classes during the 5th year through ASCENT, he/she is required to enroll in at least 12 credits, but no more than 15 credits each semester. Cherry Creek Schools require at least 12 credit hours each semester to participate in ASCENT.
Are students required to participate for the entire school year?
No. CCSD encourages students to take advantage of the financial support for the full year, but a student can stop participating any time. If a student drops a class after the final drop deadline or receives a failing grade ("F"), he/she will have to reimburse Cherry Creek for the cost of tuition. We do expect students to commit to the full year of ASCENT as once a slot is filled, we cannot put another student in at semester.
Which college classes can a student take?
Students may only enroll in Guarantee Transfer courses (see your counselor for a list of approved courses) and/or courses that apply to a specific career pathway as indicated in the student's Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP). The courses must apply toward a college degree or certificate.
Can a student participate in college activities and athletics?
Students may participate in college activities and club sports, but are not eligible to participate in inter-collegiate athletics. Students who plan to play NCAA athletics immediately after their senior year should not participate in ASCENT.
Can a student live in the dorms?
Nothing prevents a student from staying in the dorms while taking college classes through ASCENT. However, the cost of room and board is not covered through the ASCENT program. Students will be responsible for covering these expenses.
Will Cherry Creek provide transportation to the college?
No, students will be responsible for providing their own transportation.
What else does a student need to know?
- Students may only participate in the ASCENT program for the 2017-18 academic year.
- Online classes and summer classes are not covered under the ASCENT program.
- Students will have to apply for and use the Colorado Opportunity Fund (COF).
- The grades a student receives in the college classes will appear on both their high school transcript and college transcript.
- Undocumented students can participate in ASCENT.
When do students have to decide and commit to the program?
Students will have to make a preliminary commitment to participate in ASCENT by completing an “ASCENT intent application” before the start of their senior year. (OPTIONS students and parents must meet with the OPTIONS counselor prior to filling out a complete ASCENT REGISTRATION PACKET.) Students will need to make a final commitment to the program in April of 2020.
What do students need to do now?
If students are interested in the program, they should complete the ASCENT intent form and return it to their high school counselor by the deadline. Counselors will work with students to determine if they are eligible, and if the ASCENT Program is right for them.