The bill creates the Colorado individualized combined degree pilot program (pilot program) that the department of higher education must administer, working with the department of education. The pilot program is designed to assist school districts and charter schools in providing individualized degree programs that enable a participating student to design and complete an educational program that is unique to the student and results in the simultaneous completion of a high school diploma and a baccalaureate degree during the 4 years in which the student is enrolled in high school.
A school district or charter school may apply to participate in the pilot program by submitting an application to the department of higher education, which shall select up to 10 participants. Each participating school district and charter school must establish a local individualized combined degree program (local program), which must meet specified requirements. Each participating school district or charter school must transfer a specified percentage of per pupil revenue to the individualized degree account created for each participating student that is enrolled in the school district or charter school.
The bill specifies that each student who participates in a local program must, with the student's parents, select individuals to serve as an advisory board to help the student design and complete the student's individualized degree program. The student's individualized degree program may be an existing baccalaureate degree program at an institution of higher education or may be designed specifically to meet the student's unique educational and career goals. A uniquely designed degree program must meet specified requirements and is subject to approval by the Colorado commission on higher education. Each participating student must apply for federal and state student financial assistance. A portion of the money annually appropriated for state student financial assistance must be distributed to students participating in local programs based on each student's demonstrated financial need.
Each participating student must create an individual degree account with collegeinvest. The money that the student receives from the school district or charter school and the state and federal financial assistance that the student receives must be credited to the account. The student, with the approval of the student's parent and advisory board, must use the money in the student's account only to pay for the costs incurred in obtaining the student's baccalaureate degree.
On or before January 15, 2024, and annually thereafter through 2030, the department of higher education, working with the department of education, shall prepare a report concerning the effectiveness of the pilot program and submit the report to the governor, the Colorado commission on higher education, the state board of education, and the education committees of the general assembly. The pilot program is repealed, July 1, 2030.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)