Educating All Coloradans

There are many paths to one destination: A successful career

Did you know Coloradans are significantly less likely to have earned a postsecondary certificate or degree if they are racial or ethnic minorities–including Hispanic, Native American, African American, and Pacific Islander Coloradans? It’s true: in Colorado, we have a highly educated workforce, yet we suffer from a wide “attainment gap” – the educational divide between our majority and minority populations.

We also have a great need to support Colorado adults who didn’t continue their education immediately after high school—to re-engage them in training and education opportunities, improve their overall job prospects and heighten their ability to become an integral part of the skilled workforce that Colorado employers need.

Who are our Colorado graduates?

Number of On-Time Graduates from the High School Class of 2017


An increasing percentage of students are graduating high school on-time each year

Percentage of students graduating within four years of finishing eighth grade.

Graduation Rates by Gender

Statewide, the on-time graduation for females was 82.8 percent and the male graduation rate was 75.5% percent. As with the annual dropout rates, the graduation rate for both genders has gradually improved over recent years, but a sizeable gap exists between the graduation rates for female and male students with females graduating at a rate seven to eight percentage points higher than males each year.
Female on-time graduation rate


Male on-time graduation rate


Four Year High School Graduation Rate by Race/Ethnicity

The average four year high school graduation rate for the state is 77.3%.
CDE has created a number of interactive tools and maps to better illustrate how the graduation rates look across the state. Click to see all Graduation Statistics. Colorado has been persistent in keeping students who fall short of graduation requirements enrolled beyond their fourth year of high school and moving them to graduate in five or six years.

Decline in State Dropout Rate

The dropout rate reflects the percentage of all students enrolled in grades seven through 12 who leave school without transferring to another educational environment during a single school year.

But, what happens to students who do not graduate with their classmates?

There were 13,440 students in the Class of 2015 who did not graduate with their classmates. Of these non-graduates, more than half were still enrolled in school or attained a high school equivalency certificate. CDE has created a number of interactive tools and maps to better illustrate how dropout rates look across the state. Click to see all Dropout Statistics.
Stay enrolled & graduate in 5, 6, or 7 years


Attain a High School Equivalency


Exit to a High School Equivalency preparation program but do not complete within 12 months


Drop Out


Other (illness, injury, exited to a detention center, expelled, etc.)



of previous year Career and Technical Education completers who were seeking employment had obtained jobs within a year following program completion.
More than one-third of high school students participate in career and technical education courses


What are the next steps for students toward transitioning from high school to postsecondary education?

Dual Enrollment Programs

Creating better pathways from high school to higher education is essential for Colorado to reach its state goals of increasing college completion rates and decreasing high school dropout rates. Dual enrollment is one such strategy states across the country are using to cultivate seamless P-20 (postsecondary education) pathways, providing high school students the opportunity to enroll in college-level courses and earn tuition-free credit. These programs help students develop the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to be postsecondary and workforce ready. Dual enrollment students are more likely to enroll in college than their peers and are less likely to need remedial education once in college.

More than


Colorado students earn college credit while attending high school.

1 in 5 Colorado 11th graders and graduating seniors participate in concurrent enrollment, taking college courses in high school



students in Concurrent Enrollment programs earned a postsecondary credential in 2016-2017

Change from 2014-15 to 2015-16


Concurrent Enrollment Participation by Race/Ethnicity

The number of Hispanic students — Colorado's largest minority group — participating in Concurrent Enrollment increased by 21 percent from 2015-16 to 2016-17. Concurrent Enrollment is the largest dual enrollment program in Colorado.


of districts participate in concurrent enrollment


of high schools participate in concurrent enrollment

Completion Rate for Colorado High School Seniors for the 2017-2018 FAFSA

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 90 percent of high school graduates who complete a FAFSA enroll in college within one year. Colorado counselors, principals and district officials can access the FAFSA Completion Portal to view submission, completion or common errors to provide more targeted assistance for high school seniors.
Statewide completion rate:


Post high school, who is participating in educational options?

Colorado High School Graduates Enrolling in College the Fall Following High School Graduation

Underserved Minority Enrollment at Colorado Two and Four Year Public Institutions

Underserved students include any student who belongs to a racial group that has credential attainment rate lower that the majority population (i.e Hispanic, Black, Native American, Hawaiian, Pacific Islander). Among Colorado’s top higher education goals is to reduce the attainment gap among students from underserved communities. The attainment gap is the difference in credential attainment rates between populations. In addition to being an equity problem, Colorado’s economy depends upon these students having access to, and succeeding in, higher education. Enrollment, retention, and completion serve as the critical momentum points in addressing the attainment gap issue.

Postsecondary Credentials to Erase Equity Gaps

Success in meeting the statewide goal of 66% hinges on improving all students completion in colleges, universities and other pathways in the state. However, Colorado will not meet the goal without an intentional focus on erasing equity gaps and accelerating minority completion. The following chart show annual credentials earned by Hispanic, African American, Native American and Pell eligible students at our public two- and four-year institutions and area technical colleges.

Percentage of Colorado Adults with a Postsecondary Certificate or Degree

Increasing education levels for not only traditional college age students, but adults of all ages, is important to meeting the needs of businesses in Colorado. As the economy continues to grow and flourish, we must enact multiple strategies to meet our workforce needs that both support the success of our own "home grown" students and workers while continuing to attract workers from outside the state.