Students Enroll in College at Highest Rate in DPS History

May. 3, 2018

Contact: Jessie Smiley, Media Relations,

DPS Celebrates College Readiness on College Signing Day

Denver – Denver Public Schools (DPS) is celebrating huge increases in college enrollment rates. College enrollment for the Class of 2017 was the largest in DPS history, with 2,297 graduates – 51% – enrolling in college in the fall immediately following graduation. That’s a five percentage point increase from the Class of 2016, and the largest increase in the last 12 years.

While gaps in college enrollment remained for the Class of 2017 by race and ethnicity, African American and Latino students have made tremendous progress in closing those gaps with White peers. After experiencing steadily declining rates for the last six years, Class of 2017 African American students saw a nine percentage point increase in college enrollment rates.

Thursday, students and educators celebrated these strides in college- and career-readiness, a goal in the Denver Plan 2020, at South High School for their College Signing Day.

“A whopping 95% of South High School’s Class of 2017 enrolled in either a two- or four-year college or the military,” said South High School principal Jen Hanson. “And the Class of 2018 is shaping up the same way.”

Similar to the tradition of athletic signing days to celebrate sports stars as they commit to a college, seniors throughout DPS will get their day to celebrate their post-graduation plans at their own College Signing Day. Signing Day throughout DPS allows schools to recognize graduating seniors who are deciding their journey after graduation in a variety of ways, including perusing college, career and/or the military.

“For DPS to achieve our vision of Every Child Succeeds, we must ensure that our graduates are able to pursue any 21st-Century college and career path they choose,” said Superintendent Tom Boasberg. “No matter which DPS high school they went to, as our students flip the tassels on their graduation caps from right to left, they should feel confident that they won’t have to take remedial courses just to be on track when they enter college, or be lacking important skills as they enter the workforce.”

Jobs requiring training beyond high school are growing three times as fast as jobs requiring only a high school diploma. By 2020, 74% of all Colorado jobs will require education beyond high school.

“I believe in education because it gives you the tools to be a better person,” said South High School graduating senior and Daniels Fund Scholarship recipient Sara Gebretsadik. “I don’t think I would have been prepared for college if I had gone to high school anywhere else. It’s great to go to a school where the world coexists. South has not only prepared me for college, but it has prepared me for life.”