DENVER, CO – The House Education Committee today advanced two bills that will save early childhood educators money and expand opportunities for Colorado students to participate in the ASCENT concurrent enrollment program.
“By expanding the proven ASCENT program, we’ll prepare even more Colorado students for success and help even more students save money on their post secondary degrees,” said Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora. “I’m thrilled we are moving forward to lift the cap on the number of students that can participate each year. This will make an enormous impact on the lives of young people all across our state.”
“By expanding our concurrent enrollment program, more students across the state will more equitably be able earn postsecondary degree credits in less time than they otherwise would,” said Rep. Jennifer Bacon, D-Denver. “Expanding the ASCENT program makes it easier for students to earn their degrees with less student loan debt and more time to focus on their education instead of juggling the multiple jobs they may need to pay for it.”
HB22-1002, sponsored by Representatives Mike Weissman and Jennifer Bacon, passed by a vote of 6-3 and would lift the cap on participants in the Accelerating Students through Concurrent ENrollmenT program, which allows students to earn post-secondary degree credits while completing an additional year of high school. By earning postsecondary credits earlier in their educational pathway, students can earn their degree in less time, saving them money on their degree while they participate in a program that will prepare them for success. Under current law, a student participating in the program may enroll in postsecondary courses while also being enrolled and funded by their school district or charter school, and the number of students is capped. The bill also reduces the number of postsecondary credits a student must complete to be eligible to participate, making it easier for students to enter the program.
The Education Committee also passed HB22-1010 by a vote of 8-1. Sponsored by Representatives Emily Sirota and Tonya Van Beber, the bill would increase and expand eligibility for the early childhood educator tax credit. The tax credit would help save early childhood educators money and encourage new providers to enter the field. Boosting the child care workforce will expand childcare options and ultimately lower the cost of childcare in Colorado. Child care providers are facing significant workforce challenges as workers leave the field for higher paying, less stressful jobs.
“We’re working hard to give every child the tools they need to thrive and to save families money by making early childhood education available to every family in our state,” said Rep. Emily Sirota, D-Denver. “Too many early childhood educators are leaving the field for higher paying jobs that frankly are a lot easier than providing child care. This has left childcare centers struggling to hire the people they need with parents in the lurch day after day. Our bill encourages providers to enter the field by saving them money on their taxes and may ultimately save families money on child care by creating more reliable options.”