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March 7, 2024

Legislation to Save Students Money, Expand Education Opportunities Clears Committee

DENVER, CO – The House Education Committee passed legislation to save high school students money on post-secondary education. HB24-1305 would expand access to the Pathway in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) Program through which high school students can obtain an associate’s degree or professional certificate in certain fields.

“Meeting today’s workforce demands means we need to make it easier for high school students to earn no-cost credits toward an associate’s degree or professional certificate,” said Rep. William Lindstedt, D-Broomfield. “This bill builds upon the successful P-TECH program to expand the number of approved programs in which students can earn associate’s degrees or professional certificates before they graduate high school. We’re also making it possible to stack earned credits while still being eligible for tuition stipends at state-run higher education institutions.” 

“We’re making it easier for our students to save money on earning an associate’s degree or professional certificate while they’re still in high school,” said Rep. Meghan Lukens, D-Steamboat Springs. “This bill strengthens successful collaborations between K-12, higher education, and industry to deliver a no-cost associate’s degree to students when they graduate high school by expanding the number of programs students can earn credits toward. This bill saves students money, supports our workforce demands and strengthens our economy.” 

HB24-1305, which passed committee unanimously expands and modifies  guidelines for the (P-TECH) Program which allows students in approved programs to graduate from high school with an associate’s degree or certificate in certain disciplines. The bill expands the allowable disciplines to include industries beyond the traditional science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

This bill also updates current law so students who earn credits through the P-TECH program, the Accelerating Students in Concurrent Enrollment (ASCENT) program, or the Teacher Recruitment and Education Program (TREP) program will not count against their allowable College Opportunity Fund (COF) limit. The COF helps save students money by providing a stipend to qualified students to pay a portion of the total in-state tuition when attending a participating college.

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