Accelerating Students Through Concurrent Enrollment


ASCENT is a fifth-year high school program that pays for a free year of college 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.

ASCENT gives students a head start in earning a certificate, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree…all while saving time and money.

Where can I attend college through ASCENT?

Arapahoe Community College Community College of Aurora Community College of Denver EGTC Logo
FRCC Logo Metropolitan State University of Denver Pickens Technical College Logo Red Rocks Community College

How do I become eligible for ASCENT?

  • Students with at least 9 credit hours of college coursework by graduation may be eligible for the ASCENT program.To be eligible for the program, a DPS student must:
    • Submit a completed ASCENT application by the March 1st deadline
    • Meet all DPS high school graduation requirements
    • Complete and pass 9 credit hours of college coursework by the end of senior year:
      • 100-level or higher Concurrent Enrollment course w/a C or better and listed on a student’s high school and college transcripts;
      • Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams taken prior to senior year may count toward the 9 credits needed for eligibility with specific exam scores*
      • CLEP exam scores may count toward the 9 credits needed with specific exam scores*
    • Apply and be admitted to the college or university you will attend during your ASCENT year (see list of colleges above)
    • Be college ready in English and Mathematics in your desired career pathway (does not apply to students attending EGTC and PTC)
    • Be a 4th year senior
    • Be less than 21 years old as of October 1st after graduation
    • Graduate from a traditional, pathway or charter school in DPS (not an Early College or PTECH HS)

    *exams must be transcripted on a college transcript no later than June 30th of a student’s 12th grade year.

How do students apply to ASCENT?

Important Dates to Remember

– November 1, 2022: ASCENT Application Opens

– March 1, 2023: ASCENT Application Deadline

– April-June 2023: Official offer to join ASCENT emailed to students/counselors who have met eligibility requirements

– June 30, 2023: Deadline for students to accept/decline an ASCENT slot for 2023-24 school year

The Application Process

A student will work with their counselor/advisor to complete the Online ASCENT Application by the March 1st deadline.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Resources

Here are some links to financial aid and scholarship resources:


ASCENT may or may not be the best financial option for you. It is very important to apply for ALL financial aid and scholarships during your senior year so that you have options after high school. Be sure to complete the FAFSA/CASFA* and DSF Scholarship by May 1, 2023. Your High School Counselor or Future Center College Advisor can help you with the application process.  

*CASFA is for students who are not eligible to apply for FAFSA

ASCENT Contacts:

Kelly Gilmore
Program Manager
(720) 423-3827

Anayeli Perez Cruz
Program Coordinator
(720) 423-3740

Ilse Chavez
Program Coordinator
(720) 423-3756

Interested in ASCENT?

Fill out this form to receive ASCENT application reminders. Click this link or use this QR Code: 

"The most beneficial aspect was the easy transition from high school to CCD through the ASCENT program. I received a lot of support and encouragement and felt confident as I transitioned into the program. The communication was outstanding."

ASCENT Student, 2019-2020

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I be a part time student in ASCENT? What about online classes?

  • Yes, ASCENT students are allowed to be a part-time or full-time student. Part-time students take 3-11 credits per semester; full-time students take 12-18 credits per semester. 
  • DPS does not allow students to take online courses, unless there are extenuating circumstances. This is decided on a case-by-case basis by the ASCENT Manager and Coordinator.
  • Studies have shown that most 1st year students are most successful when they have in person learning and support. Online coursework is highly independent and provides minimal support for students.

Does the ASCENT program pay for textbooks?

  • Yes, and it varies year-to-year based on funding.

How does ASCENT impact a student’s eligibility for the Pell Grant?

It doesn’t. Because the student has not officially graduated high school, they do not receive federal or state financial aid outside of ASCENT funding.

How does ASCENT impact a student’s eligibility for DSF Scholarships?

  • If you participate in ASCENT, you are still eligible to apply for DSF scholarships after you complete the ASCENT program.
  • Also, completing ASCENT counts as a year at DPS. Therefore, if you complete your graduation requirements and have only been at DPS for 3 years and then decide to participate in ASCENT, it counts as a 4th year for the purposes of DSF eligibility.

Can a student who is undocumented, DACA, or ASSET-eligible participate in ASCENT?

  • Yes, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements listed above.

Does a student need to apply for COF (the Colorado Opportunity Fund) to participate in ASCENT?

All students who have taken concurrent enrollment courses in HS have already applied for COF. Students only apply for COF one time.

Can a student with an IEP or 504 participate in ASCENT?

  • Yes, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements listed above.

What post-secondary and scholarship options do students have after completing the ASCENT program?

  • Students may stay at their current college, transfer to another college, or go into the workforce.
  • Scholarships and funding: 
    • Denver Scholarship Foundation
    • Private scholarships
    • College specific scholarships