High School ACCESS

High school students interested in the challenge of college courses can enroll in CU Boulder courses.

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High School ACCESS

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Take College Courses While in High School

The High School ACCESS program is intended for high school students interested in the challenge of completing college courses at the University of Colorado Boulder. High School ACCESS students earn college credit that may also be applied to high school graduation requirements. Students enroll in main campus CU courses on a space-available basis via a program called ACCESS.

Schedule an appointment with your high school counselor or email us at hsaccess@colorado.edu to learn more.

Vaccination Requirements for Nondegree Students

All nondegree students residing in the state of Colorado must meet the campus vaccination requirements.

Nondegree students born on or after January 1, 1957 must submit proof of two (2) doses each of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination. If you have previously submitted these during an earlier term, you do NOT need to resubmit.

Learn more about the vaccination requirements and submission for nondegree students on the Health & Wellness Requirements Page.

If you have questions about these requirements, please contact us at ceadvise@colorado.edu.

High School ACCESS Enrollment Eligibility

High school students aged 16 and over are eligible to enroll in college courses with parent/guardian and high school counselor/principal permission. Home school students are eligible with parent permission.

If you are a Colorado high school junior or senior under the age of 21 enrolled in a public high school, you may be eligible to receive tuition assistance from your school district for college courses taken during the fall and spring semesters. Talk to your high school counselor about your school district’s policy. Boulder Valley students can find information on their district webpage.

If you are approved for tuition assistance, you will need to take courses offered by the CU Boulder main campus through the ACCESS program. Main campus courses are offered two or three days a week for about an hour, anytime between 8 am and 4 pm. High school students will typically need two free periods to take one course at CU. If you are paying for your courses yourself, you may also enroll in Evening and Online credit courses.

High School ACCESS Advising

You will work with your high school counselor, parent/guardian, and a Continuing Education academic advisor to determine the CU courses that best fit your goals. Taking college courses while in high school is a great way to challenge yourself and advance your knowledge in an area in which you have a passion, or previously excelled.

For help choosing classes and obtaining prerequisite approvals, please schedule an advising appointment with Annie Lemberg through our CE Advising website.

  • After logging in, click on the ‘Continuing Education’ box. From the ‘Select a Service’ drop-down arrow, choose ‘Academic Advising’. Book an open appointment with Annie Lemberg.
    • If Annie is not available, you may select an open time with Graham Douglas.

If you have further questions regarding advising services, email us at hsaccess@colorado.edu.

Enrollment in High School ACCESS

Before applying, talk to your parent or guardian and your high school counselor about your interest in the High School ACCESS program. When you are ready, be sure to follow the specific application process outlined by your school district as well as the following steps:

Step 1: Get the Information and Apply

  • Review application materials with your parent/guardian.
  • Meet with your HS Counselor to get district approval applications (if applicable).
  • Go to the CU Boulder Class Search to search for courses.
  • Submit the application: Summer 2024 Application
    Once you’ve applied and received your student ID you may be eligible to apply for our needs-based scholarship.

    1. If you’re under 16 years of age, you’re required to complete an advising session with a CE academic advisor. Please schedule a phone or video appointment with a CE academic advisor by following the steps on our advising website.
    2. We encourage all students to meet with a CE academic advisor at least once a term for additional guidance.

Step 2: Complete the Supplemental Application Forms (prior to registration)

  • Submit the Enrollment Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): This MOU must be on file each term to be eligible to enroll.
  • Submit High School District Approval Forms, if applicable:
    1. Boulder Valley School District students must also submit BVSD’s application in order to receive district assistance.
    2. If you attend any other district, check with your high school counselor to see if you’re eligible for tuition assistance. If approved by your school, please complete the District Approval Form and submit no later than a month after the term starts.

Send completed forms to hsaccess@colorado.edu.

Step 3: Complete Assessments or Submit Documentation for restricted courses

  • Students planning to take courses with prerequisites must provide proof that they have completed the prerequisites. Prerequisites may be satisfied via courses taken for college credit, AP or IB (test scores required), or CU Boulder language placement exams. Send email copies of your transcripts and/or test scores to hsaccess@colorado.edu.

Step 4: Apply for the College Opportunity Fund

If you are a resident of Colorado and are 13+ years old, you can apply for a stipend that will cover a portion of the tuition for CU Boulder main campus courses. Review and apply for COF. Your social security number or identification number is needed to connect COF to your student account. If you didn’t provide this number on your application, please call us at 303-492-5148 to add it to your file. When you enroll in courses, you will have the opportunity to AUTHORIZE the stipend. You must complete BOTH steps to receive your stipend.

COF Restrictions

The COF stipend is not applicable for CE Evening Credit, CE Online Credit, Applied Music, Individualized Instruction, Extraordinary, or International English Center courses. The tuition rates for many of these programs are based on the tuition paid by Colorado residents after the COF stipend is applied.

Step 5: Enroll in Courses

Summer registration into main campus and Continuing Education courses for high school students starts on Monday, March 11.

  • Once we’ve received and processed your application, we will send you a Welcome Message email. The Welcome Message will guide you through online enrollment via Buff Portal, the CU online student portal.
  • You can add courses to a “shopping cart” as soon as you receive your Welcome Message.

Step 6: Go to Class

  • If taking classes in person, take some time prior to the first day of class to familiarize yourself with the campus, including the UMC Student Center, the Norlin Library, and most importantly, the buildings on campus in which your classes will be held. See the Campus Map.
  • If you are waitlisted for a class, plan to attend starting on the first day. This way you will not miss any of the information, and you can talk to the instructor about your chances of getting in.

Step 7: Pay your bill

  • You will NOT receive a paper bill. Your bill will be available online in Buff Portal. This is also where you will manage your course schedule, check grades, etc.
  • If you will be receiving district tuition assistance, it may take additional time to process before you see it added to your account.
  • Questions about your bill? Call the CE Accounting team at 303-492-2212.

The priority deadline to submit summer application materials is May 10. The final deadline for summer is July 5.

Buff Portal and IdentiKey

Buff Portal is the online campus portal and an important tool. It gives you access to credit course enrollment, your CU student email account, campus announcements, semester schedule, tuition bill, book lists, clicker registration, Canvas, and your final grades. Learn more about Buff Portal.

You’ll need an Identikey, or a unique username, to log in to and access Buff Portal. An Identikey allows you to register for CU courses and provides you with access to online services and campus computing facilities. Use your student identification number to activate your IdentiKey at identikey.colorado.edu.

If you have questions, contact us at ceregistration@colorado.edu or 303-492-5148.

Consenting to Do Business Electronically

When you log in to Buff Portal for the first time, you’ll be asked to consent to conduct business electronically at CU. If you don’t consent, you’ll lose access to the portal and instead receive information about how to conduct your official university business offline.

If you have questions, contact us at ceregistration@colorado.edu or 303-492-5148.

ACCESS Academic Calendar

Spring 2024

ACCESS/Nondegree Registration Begins Jan 9
Faculty & Staff Registration Opens Jan 9
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – University Closed Jan 15
Classes Begin Jan 16
Last Day to Add Name to a Class Waitlist in Buff Portal or Class Search Jan 24
Last Day to Add a Class in Buff Portal or Class Search Jan 24
Drop a Course**, 100% Tuition Adjustment* Jan 31
Deadline to Request No-credit Status Jan 31
Payment Due for New or Unpaid Charges Feb 5
Deadline to Withdraw***, 60% Tuition Adjustment* Feb 14
Deadline to Withdraw***, 40% Tuition Adjustment* Feb 28
Deadline to Withdraw*** without Petitioning^, No Tuition Adjustment Mar 22
Deadline to Request Pass/Fail or Grade Replacement Mar 22
Deadline to Change Final Exam Schedule Mar 22
Spring Break (No Classes; University Closed Friday Mar 29) Mar 25-29
Add a Course with Instructor Signature, Without Petitioning^ Apr 29
Last Day to Withdraw from all ACCESS Classes May 2
College Opportunity Fund Eligibility Deadline^^ May 2
Last Day to Apply for COF May 2
Last Day of Classes May 2
Reading Day May 3
Final Exams May 4-8
Last Day to Authorize COF in Buff Portal May 8

All times are in Mountain Time.

* Students’ eligibility for a possible tuition adjustment or refund is dependent on residency status and number of credits. Non-resident students are not eligible for a tuition adjustment if they are enrolled in 4 or more credits after dropping or withdrawing from a course or courses.
**Drop by 11:59 p.m. online using Buff Portal.
***Withdraw by 11:59 p.m. online using Buff Portal, submitting an online withdrawal form, or by email to ceregistration@colorado.edu. A grade of W will appear on your transcript.
Withdraw by 11:59 p.m. by submitting an online withdrawal form or send an email to ceregistration@colorado.edu. A grade of W will appear on your transcript.

^ Petitioning is designed to provide students who experience unavoidable, extenuating circumstances, the opportunity to waive a University policy that, if enforced, would result in unsatisfactory academic progress or financial consequences.
Nondegree students must petition the dean of CEPS and must have an instructor signature. Degree students must petition the dean of the college in which they are enrolled, and must have an instructor signature.

^^ If a College Opportunity Fund (COF) eligible student adds a course after this date, according to Colorado Department of Higher Education policy, the student will pay full tuition for the course, including the amount normally paid by COF, and the course will not be credited to COF hours used.

Continuing Education Important Dates

Spring 2024

Oct 30 Continuing Education Spring Enrollment Begins
Dec 25 CE Online Flexible Enrollment Begins
Jan 9 ACCESS/Nondegree Registration Begins
Jan 15 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – University Closed
Jan 22 CE Full Session/Session 1 Classes Begin
Jan 28 Nontraditional Student Spring Scholarship Deadline
Feb 19 CE 10-week Session Classes Begin
Feb 29 Spring Fees Waiver Form Deadline
Mar 7 Session 1 CE Online Credit Courses End
Mar 11 Session 2 CE Online Credit Courses Begin
Mar 25-29 Spring Break (No Classes; University Closed Friday, March 29)
May 2 CE Full Session/10-week Session and Session 2 Classes End

Summer 2024

Mar 11 Continuing Education Summer Enrollment Begins
May 13 CE Online Flexible Course Enrollment Begins
May 27 Memorial Day (University Closed)
May 28 Nontraditional Student Summer Scholarship Deadline
June 3 CE Full Session/Session 1/8-week Classes Begin
July 4 Independence Day (University Closed)
July 5 Session 1 CE Online Credit Courses End
July 9 Session 2 CE Online Credit Courses Begin
July 26 8-week CE Online Credit Courses End
July 26 Summer Fees Waiver Form Deadline
Aug 9 CE Full Session and Session 2 Classes End

Find dates and deadlines for main campus Summer Session classes.

District or School Assistance

Colorado high school juniors and seniors under the age of 21 enrolled in a public high school may be eligible to receive tuition assistance from their school district for college courses taken via the ACCESS program. Talk to your high school counselor about your school district’s policy. Boulder Valley students can find information on their district website.

Nondegree Tuition Policy

You will be billed for your Continuing Education registration. Bills are available through Buff Portal. A 1% service charge is added to an unpaid balance after the tuition due date, and a financial stop is placed on your student record. All tuition and refund determinations are subject to audit.

Fall and Spring

Tuition for Fall and Spring Boulder main campus courses is charged the ACCESS rates.


During the summer semester students are charged Summer Session tuition rates. ACCESS rates are not available.

ACCESS Tuition Rates

ACCESS tuition is determined by your residency, not by the course format (i.e. evening, online, or hybrid).

In-State Students:

Out-of-State students:

  • Tuition for CE Evening Credit and Applied Music is included as part of ACCESS when enrolled in six or more hours of Continuing Education and ACCESS courses concurrently.


In-State Undergraduate Tuition

Fall 2023 – Spring 2024

Credit Hours In-State Tuition COF Voucher Student Share After COF
1 $596 $116 $480
2 $1,192 $232 $960
3 $1,788 $348 $1,440
4 $2,384 $464 $1,920
5 $2,980 $580 $2,400
6 $3,576 $696 $2,880
7 $4,172 $812 $3,360
8 $4,768 $928 $3,840
9 $5,364 $1,044 $4,320
10 $5,960 $1,160 $4,800
11 $6,556 $1,276 $5,280
12 $7,152 $1,392 $5,760
13 $7,268 $1,508 $5,760
14 $7,384 $1,624 $5,760
15 $7,500 $1,740 $5,760
16 $7,616 $1,856 $5,760
17 $7,732 $1,972 $5,760
18 $7,848 $2,088 $5,760

Out-of-State Undergraduate Tuition

Fall 2023 – Spring 2024

Credit Hours Tuition
1 $1,405
2 $2,810
3 $4,215
4 $5,620
5 $7,025
6+ $19,385

In-State Graduate Tuition

Fall 2023 – Spring 2024

Credit Hours A&S/Other Law
1 $723 $1,821
2 $1,446 $3,642
3 $2,169 $5,463
4 $2,892 $7,284
5 $3,615 $9,105
6 $4,338 $10,926
7 $5,061 $12,747
8 $5,784 $14,568
9+ $6,507 $16,389

Out-of-State Graduate Tuition

Fall 2023 – Spring 2024

Credit Hours A&S/Other Law
1 $1,916 $2,236
2 $3,832 $4,472
3 $5,748 $6,708
4 $7,664 $8,944
5 $9,580 $11,180
6 $11,496 $13,416
7 $13,412 $15,652
8 $15,328 $17,888
9+ $17,244 $20,124

The Board of Regents reserves the right to change the tuition and fee rates at any time.

Course and program fees are assessed in some schools and departments. Lab courses not linked to a lecture course may require a course fee. A & S Tech Fee (ASSET) Fee of $1.32 per credit hour assessed for Arts and Sciences courses. Course, program, and ASSET fees are nonrefundable.

Cost of Attendance

Tuition and fees are just one part of the overall cost to attend CU Boulder. The full cost of attendance for an academic year could include expenses such as on-campus housing and food, books and supplies, and items that are not billed by the university, such as personal expenses, transportation and medical insurance. View the full cost of attendance.

High School ACCESS Fall & Spring Scholarship Information

See the Financial Aid section for more information.

High School ACCESS Fall & Spring Scholarships

Scholarship Details

  • The maximum award will cover the tuition cost of one course, up to $2,500, with award amounts depending on a student’s credits.
  • High School ACCESS students with financial need will be eligible to receive the scholarship more than once, contingent on available funding.
  • Scholarships offered through CE are classified as general fund and are therefore compatible with VA benefits.


  • Nondegree High School ACCESS students at CU Boulder who are not formally admitted to a degree program.
  • Must be enrolled in courses for credit offered through main campus, CE Evening Credit, and/or CE Online Credit.
  • Must attest and provide documentation of financial need.

Students receiving CU’s Tuition Assistance Benefit are not eligible.

Financial Need

This scholarship is intended to benefit high school students who require financial assistance in order to take courses at CU Boulder. Students may demonstrate financial need in a variety of ways.

For help understanding and obtaining the types of documentation listed below, speak with a parent/guardian or contact a school counselor and/or trusted teacher.

Accepted documentation types:

  • A letter from a school counselor, teacher or other school personnel;
  • A letter from another organization your family is working with to secure resources;
  • Any other documentation confirming financial need such as participation in:
    • A free/reduced lunch plan, Boulder Valley School District’s Adelante program, McKinney-Vento support, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), Supplemental Security Income Federal Pell Grants or Subsidized Student Loans (either an older sibling or yourself, if you are a high school senior)

Any documentation that is submitted will be used to determine your scholarship eligibility only and will be stored in a secure database. Only the Continuing Education Scholarship Committee Chair will access the protected information.

Scholarship Essay

In addition to submitting proof of financial need, students must also answer the personal essay question listed below and submit it in the online portal along with their complete application.

Please tell us more about your interest in the subject(s) you wish to study at CU Boulder. We would like to know:

  1. What makes you passionate about this subject?
  2. Do you have any special goals that you hope to achieve through your class(es) this semester?
  3. What is the #1 reason that you want to attend CU Boulder?

Scholarship essays will be rated based on the following elements:

  • (4 points) Content: The essay fully addresses all portions of the prompt and has a central point that is interesting, original, substantial, and maybe even striking. The author uses concrete details to “show” rather than merely “tell” their story.
  • (3 points) Readability/Organization: The central idea is developed in the essay through well-chosen and appropriate language. The essay is organized and well-structured. There is a beginning, a body, and a conclusion and transitions help the paper flow smoothly. Introductory statements are interesting and appropriate. Concluding statements are satisfying.
  • (2 points) Tone: The essay is written in the authentic voice of the writer. It is compelling and interesting. The tone is consistent and shows effort/thought was put in.
  • (1 point) Grammar/Standard Language Use: Author has given thought to form, grammar, and structure and is writing at a college level of English.

The spring 2024 application deadline was January 28, 2024.

If you have questions or additional information, please email us at hsaccess@colorado.edu. We are happy to help.

Now that you’ve selected your favorite Continuing Education courses, email or print the information, including class number, to more easily search Buff Portal and enroll. Still have questions? Contact an advisor.


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