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New Applicants for Early College Designation

An Early College, as defined by C.R.S. 22-35-103(10)(a), is a secondary school that provides only a curriculum that requires each student to enroll in and complete secondary and postsecondary courses while enrolled in the four years of high school such that, upon successful completion of the curriculum, the student will have completed the requirements of a high school diploma and an associate's degree or other postsecondary credential or at least sixty credits toward the completion of a postsecondary credential. The curriculum must be designed to be completed within four years.

Any secondary school determined to be an Early College must submit a review application to retain its Early College designation, no later than five years after its most recent State Board determination.  The Department may recommend an early review for any Early College, and the State Board may review any Early College’s designation at any time by voting to (a) request a review application under section 2.03 of 1 CCR 301-105 and (b) set a schedule therefor.   Failure to submit a timely review application (either as due every five years or as requested by the State Board) shall be deemed an abandonment of the designation, and the Department will recommend to the State Board that it make a determination accordingly.

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Application and Designation Determination Process
Application and Support Documents

Application and Designation Determination Process

The 4 step process for a secondary school to request designation as an Early College from the Colorado State Board of Education (SBE) is as follows:

STEP 1:  Submit Application Materials to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE)

Required documents:

  • An application for Early College designation which must include a curriculum outline of the path for a student to complete the requirements of C.R.S. 22-35-103(10)(a) as stated above within four years. (Click here to view a sample application template)

STEP 2:  CDE reviews materials

  • All Early College designation application materials are reviewed by CDE to determine if they are complete and ready to be placed on the agenda for the subsequent SBE monthly meeting. Completed materials must be submitted to no later than 30 days before a monthly scheduled SBE meeting.  View a list of SBE scheduled meetings.
  • CDE will notify the designated contact person if information/materials are incomplete/missing; and when the application materials were submitted to the SBE. Incomplete application materials that are not resubmitted promptly to CDE may result in delayed review by SBE.

STEP 3:  Review and decision by Colorado State Board of Education

  • The SBE makes the final decision to approve or deny Early College designation requests.
  • The SBE shall consider whether the secondary school offers only a curriculum compliant with C.R.S. 22-35-103(10)(a) that students successfully complete within four year in making Early College designation determinations.
  • School/district/Institute representatives are not required to attend or present supporting information at the SBE meeting.
  • CDE will notify the designated contact person of the SBE’s decision once it is known.  The designated contact person will be informed if any information/documents must be re-submitted for consideration by SBE at the next scheduled SBE meeting.

STEP 4:  Request School Code

Upon approval of the Early College designation request by the SBE, the district/fiscal agent must request a new school code (separate from that of an existing high school) from CDE by JUNE 30th before the term that the Early College will begin operation. Click here to request a new code.

Application and Supporting Documents

Sample: Application template

Rules for the Review of Early College Designation, State Board of Education (1 CCR 301-105)