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ASCENT

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.

About ASCENT

What are the benefits of ASCENT?

  • One full year of college tuition and fees are paid for!
  • Save time and money on college – between $5,000 – $10,000 depending on the program.
  • Can attend one of 8 participating Colorado schools – see “Where can I attend college through ASCENT”
  • Wrap-around student support services provided during the transition from high school to college: 
    • Advising and course scheduling
    • Social-emotional support
    • FAFSA and Scholarship support
    • Campus resource referrals
    • Career counseling, Job search, resume/cover letter, letter of recommendation
    • Transferring from one college to another (in state or out of state)

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?

  • By the end of 12th grade, a high school senior must: 
    • Apply for the program by the March 1st deadline. 
    • Complete 9+ credits of college coursework. Check out the many ways a student can earn college credit in high school with: 
    • Meet all high school graduation requirements.
    • Be college-ready in English and Mathematics for the desired career pathway.
    • 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)
    • Apply and be admitted to the college or university you will attend (see Where can I attend college through ASCENT).
  • Talk to your counselor/advisor about your eligibility!
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INTERESTED IN ASCENT? 

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

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.

Important!

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
Kelly_Gilmore@dpsk12.org

Anayeli Perez Cruz
Program Coordinator
(720) 423-3740
Anayeli_PerezCruz@dpsk12.org

Ilse Chavez
Program Coordinator
(720) 423-3756
Ilse_Chavez@dpsk12.org

Student Scenarios

Scenario 1: Andrea

High School Profile
- Completed HS in May 2019
- Earned 28 credits as a HS student for FREE at CCA and CSU Global
- Saved $4,300+
- Not eligible for Pell Grant
- Decided to participate in ASCENT because of limited funding opportunities

ASCENT Profile
- Earned 32 credits in the ASCENT program at CCA for FREE
- Completed Associates degree in May 2020
- Saved $4,900+
- Transferred to MSU Denver in August 2020

Total Saved with Concurrent Enrollment and ASCENT: $9,200+*
*does not include fees

Scenario 2: Oscar

High School Profile
- Completed HS in May 2019
- Earned 30 credits as a HS student for FREE at EGTC
- Eligible for Pell Grant
- Decided to participate in ASCENT because of the textbook stipend and the additional one-on-one support

ASCENT Profile
- Earned remaining credits for Automotive Service for FREE in the ASCENT program
- Completed Automotive certificate in May 2020
- Began working as an Automotive Technician

Total Saved with Concurrent Enrollment and ASCENT: $9,900+

Scenario 3: Gabby

High School Profile
- Completed HS in May 2019
- Earned 13 CE credits as a HS student for FREE at CCD and 12 credits by passing AP exams
- Earned a total of 25 college credits by combining CE courses and AP exams
- Saved $3,800+
- Not eligible for Pell Grant
- Decided to participate in ASCENT because of limited funding opportunities

ASCENT Profile
- Earned 30 credits in the ASCENT program for FREE at CCD
- Will complete Associates in Business with focus on Accounting in December 2020
- Saved $4,600+
- Will transfer to a 4 year college in January 2021

Total Saved with Concurrent Enrollment, AP and ASCENT: $8,400+*
*does not include fees

"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 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.

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.

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
    • FAFSA or ASSET/CASFA
    • Raise.me

Who can I contact with additional questions?

Please reach out to your school counselor for questions about ASCENT. You can also contact the ASCENT Team listed below: