College In High School Alliance
Promoting Effective Transitions Between High School and College

Press Releases

College in High School Alliance Awarded $1.2 Million To Enhance Support for Equitable and High-Quality Dual Enrollment, Concurrent Enrollment, and Early College High School

September 13, 2018, Washington, DCThe College in High School Alliance (CHSA) has been awarded $1.2 million over a two-year period to advance its goals of steering the expansion, equity, and quality focus of college in high school programs and policies nationwide. The final grant award is supported by three organizations, with $600,000 from the Joyce Foundation, $400,000 from ECMC Foundation,and $200,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

 After years of informal partnerships, five leading national organizations—Bard CollegeJFF,KnowledgeWorks, the Middle College National Consortium,and the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships—successfully launched CHSA in 2017. Since that time, CHSA has grown to a coalition of 62 national and state organizations. These groups collaborate to make a positive impact on policies and to build broad support for programs that enable high school students to enroll in affordable college pathways leading to postsecondary degrees and credentials. 

 “The collective impact of pooling the expertise of the members of the coalition has already been demonstrated through the Alliance's successes in creating supportive federal policy through the Every Student Succeeds Act, Perkins Career and Technical Education reauthorization, and the Pell Experimental Sites for Dual Enrollment,” remarked Adam Lowe, Executive Director of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP). “Foundation support is critical to expanding the Alliance's ability to guide the movement and policies at state and local levels to significantly improve the equity outcomes and quality of concurrent and dual enrollment programs nationwide.”

“College in high school strategies are growing and increasingly in demand.  At this pivotal moment, the College in High School Alliance will activate the kind of national network that is needed to ensure practitioners and policymakers have the information and tools they need to support and scale up quality. JFF is excited and proud to be working with our Alliance partners who share a commitment to ensuring more students—particularly historically underserved groups—benefit from these approaches, complete a college degree or credential, and flourish in rewarding careers,” said Joel Vargas, Vice President, School and Learning Designs, JFF. 

At a time when college in high school is expanding across the country, this project will enable CHSA to use policy tools to propel the college in high school field into a major education reform movement. This movement is focused on expanding, sustaining, and strengthening college in high school programs with equity as its central focus, so that more students can access, afford, and complete postsecondary education and be ready to contribute to the workforce and society. 

“KnowledgeWorks is thrilled to see so many national, state, local, and philanthropic partners coming together to champion greater investment in high quality college in high school programs as a viable strategy for tackling the nation’s equity challenges,” said Lillian Pace, KnowledgeWorks’ Senior Director of National Policy. “As a founding member of the College in High School Alliance, KnowledgeWorks is excited to partner with these like-minded organizations to help policymakers and practitioners across the nation build the systems to support these opportunities at scale.” 

"We are grateful to The Joyce Foundation, ECMC Foundation, and the Gates Foundation for their significant investments in the early college movement,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. "For Bard, and the College in High School Alliance, this support bolsters our founding premise that many high-school-age students are eager and ready for the intellectual challenges of college. As we know from our 17 years of experience running public early college high schools, starting college earlier in a robust program significantly increases students’ likelihood of completing higher education. With this generous support, we look forward to working with our partners in the CHSA to promote the expansion of high-quality early college and dual enrollment programs nationwide."

CHSA’s core belief is that strengthening and expanding college in high school programs will enhance secondary education and significantly improve college access, affordability, and completion for all students. This belief is backed by numerous studiesthat demonstrate the significant benefits to students of high-quality college in high school programs. In addition, research demonstrates that college in high school programs are most effective when they serve students who are low-income, underrepresented in higher education, or at risk of not completing postsecondary education. 

“Middle College National Consortium is very excited to be part of CHSA that will work to ensure that the future of middle and early colleges will be secured for all of our students,” said Cecilia Cunningham, director of the consortium.

However, given that low-income and minority students are participating in dual enrollment courses at disproportionately lower rates than their more advantaged peers, there is significant work to be done to address equity gaps. CHSA, through the support of the three funding organizations, will advance its leadership role in the field to ensure that policies are aligned to serve these students. 

“ECMC Foundation is excited to participate with our colleagues at the JoyceFoundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in funding the work of the College in High School Alliance,” said Sarah Belnick, Program Director for College Success at ECMC Foundation. “With the ongoing expansion of dual enrollment and early college opportunities, we must ensure that those opportunities are available for low-income and underrepresented students whom research has shown can get the most benefit. CHSA has laid out an ambitious set of goals to develop policy solutions and build a movement to promote equity and quality in college in high school programs, and we are excited to support their work to the benefit of students nationwide.” 

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About CHSA

The College in High School Alliance (CHSA) is a coalition of 62 national and state organizations collaborating to positively impact policies and build broad support for programs that enable high school students to enroll in authentic, affordable college pathways toward postsecondary degrees and credentials offered with appropriate support. Their core belief is that strengthening and expanding college in high school programs will improve secondary education and significantly increase college access, affordability, and completion for all students. This belief is backed by numerous studies that demonstrate the significant benefits to students of high-quality college in high school programs. College in high school programs are most effective when they serve students who are low-income, underrepresented in higher education or at risk of not completing postsecondary education.

About Bard College

A pioneer in the early college field since 2001, Bard College now serves over 2,600 students in public early college campuses in five states (in NY, NJ, OH, MD, and LA). Through these campuses, operated through innovative partnerships between Bard College and public school systems, students have the opportunity to earn up to 60 transferable college credits and an Associate in Arts degree from Bard College, free of charge and concurrently with a high school diploma. In addition to operating its network of schools, Bard works to support the conditions in which early college education can thrive and expand to serve more students across the country.

About JFF

JFF is a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems. For 35 years, JFF has led the way in designing innovative and scalable solutions that create access to economic advancement for all. Join us as we build a future that works. 

About KnowledgeWorks

With nearly 20 years of experience as a leader in strategic foresight and education transformation, KnowledgeWorks’ passionate team partners with K-12 educators, policymakers and education stakeholders to prepare each child for success through personalized learning, including a strong focus on early college.

About Middle College National Consortium

A school-based, data driven practitioner network of approximately 40 middle/early college high schools nationwide, Middle College National Consortium has successfully pioneered innovation in programs that serve districts, community colleges, universities, both public and charter; around the country for over three decades.

About NACEP

The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) is the leading membership organization supporting programs that successfully transition students from high school to college through college credit-bearing courses.  We promote quality programming through national standards, accreditation, and professional development.  Our members offer college courses to high school students through a variety of delivery methods and use a range of terms such as concurrent enrollment, dual enrollment, dual credit, and early college.  NACEP’s national network of over 400 colleges and universities, 60 high schools and school districts and 30 state agencies and system offices actively share the latest knowledge about best practices, research, and advocacy.

Miranda Rodriguez
New Federal Perkins Act Strengthens College Transition in Career and Technical Education

 Increased Emphasis on College in High School Programs in
Pathways to Postsecondary Credentials and Degrees

August 29, 2018, Chapel Hill, NC -The recently-enacted Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, which reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act(Perkins Act) will enhance federal support for college in high school programs as critical pathways for postsecondary attainment in high-value career fields. Schools around the country have demonstrated that dual and concurrent enrollment courses can close the skills gap by propelling students to successfully earn high-valuable portable college credentials and degrees.   Numerous Congressional offices drafting the Act successfully advocated for provisions supporting college in high school programs as allowable uses of Perkins funds at the local, state, and national levels, as elements of state and local plans, and as an optional indicator on state accountability systems.

Montana Governor Steve Bullockremarked "Greater federal support for dual and concurrent enrollment in Perkins V will allow us to expand this high-impact approach to ensure equity of opportunity for all Montana students. Montana has aligned our dual enrollment and career pathways programs with the workforce needs of businesses large and small in Big Sky Country, increasing access for Montana students to coursework in high-skill, high-demand sectors such as computing, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing."

Amy Williams, Dual Enrollment and Montana Career Pathways Program Director at the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education further elaborated, “Here in Montana we have strategically grown CTE concurrent enrollment aligned with state labor-market needs over the past three years from 29% to 45% of our annual courses across our vast state."  Williams, who serves as the and Chair of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP)State Policy Leadership Committee, noted in particular Montana's success in expanding programs "in schools large and very, very small."

The major provisions of the Perkins Reauthorization that support college in high school programs, including dual and concurrent enrollment and early college high school, are as follows:

Allowable Use of Funds

  • Local Use of Funds: Includes college in high school programs as allowable uses of local funds, and also has a provision that asks recipients to use funds to reduce out of pocket costs for special populations (low income students, students with disabilities, English language learners etc.)
  • State Leadership Activities:Allows states to use funds to establish, expand, and integrate opportunities for students to participate in college in high school programs at no cost to them or their families.
  • National Activities: Authorizes research grants for innovative methods of delivering high-quality CTE programs of study, including dual and concurrent enrollment programs, and includes the expansion of college in high school as allowable uses of funds for a new Innovation and Modernization grant program.

Additional Supportive Provisions

  • State Plan:Requires states to discuss in their State Plans how they will make opportunities available for students to engage in college in high school programs, and make information about those programs available to students.
  • Local Application:Requires the local recipients to include in their application to the state how they will use funds to develop and implement college in high school programs.
  • Accountability:Makes the percentage of students graduating high school with post-secondary credits earned through college in high school programs an optional indicator for State Plans.
  • Definitions:Adds dual or concurrent enrollment and early college high school programs to the definition of career and technical education, and aligns those definitions with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Alex Perry, the Coordinator of the College in High School Alliancestated, "We are grateful for Congressional recognition that college in high school programs are core strategies integral to high-quality career and technical education programs. Through this bill, school districts and institutions of higher education will have the flexibility to increase availability of these successful models to help students transition from secondary into postsecondary study, and ultimately into a prosperous career.  

Parents and students participating in high school technical programs place high value on their ability to earn college credits, according to research from the Association for Career and Technical Education and Advance CTE.  This postsecondary connection elevates career-preparation programs to an equal footing with core high school academic subjects.  Dual and concurrent enrollment courses are typically the keystone courses in career pathways and a significant feature of career academies and CTE-focused early college high schools.

The members of the College in High School Alliance will work with states and local education institutions to enhance the college transition strategies of their Career and Technical Education programs as the Act is implemented."   

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Miranda Rodriguez