NACEP Anticipates Increased State and Local Investment of
Federal Funds for College Courses in High School
Chapel Hill, NC - The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) signed Thursday by President Obama encourages greater utilization of dual and concurrent enrollment programs as a critical strategy to raise the rigor of high school curriculum and prepare students for college. Thanks to the efforts of numerous Senators and Representatives on both sides of the political aisle, numerous sections of ESSA enable states and local education agencies to utilize federal funds to support college coursework for:
- students attending schools in need of improvement (Title I)
- students attending high-poverty schools (Title I),
- low-income students attending private schools (Title I),
- teacher professional development (Title II),
- English language acquisition (Title III), and
- academic enrichment (Title IV).
The Act also incorporates student participation in college coursework on local school and state report cards as a component of local school district plans to transition students to postsecondary education, and as a potential indicator in state accountability systems. Finally, the Act includes, for the first time in federal statute, a definition of dual and concurrent enrollment programs and early college high schools to establish consistent terminology for this work.
"The Every Student Succeeds Act is about giving more control over education to states and school districts and empowering students to reach their full potential. One of the ways we can help our students achieve success in the classroom is by ensuring dual enrollment and concurrent enrollment programs are supported under ESSA," said Representative Joe Heck (R-Nevada). "That is why I was pleased to work with the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) to include these key provisions in the reauthorization bill. These important and innovative initiatives have the potential to improve high school graduation rates, reduce dropout rates, make high school more engaging for students, and help lower college costs for students."
With this new federal flexibility, NACEP will work with states and local education agencies to identify opportunities to leverage federal programs to further state and local dual and concurrent enrollment priorities. Recognition of the benefits of these programs is not limited to Washington; the American Association of State Colleges and Universities reports that eleven Governors promoted dual and concurrent enrollment in their state of the state addresses this year, making it one of the most commonly highlighted topics in education.
"I am thrilled that the Every Student Succeeds Act has placed a priority on increasing high school students' access to dual and concurrent enrollment courses. These rigorous learning opportunities make college more accessible and affordable and set students on the path toward earning a college degree," said Dr. Carey Wright, Mississippi's state superintendent of education.
During the ESSA drafting process, NACEP worked with partners at Jobs for the Future, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, Bard College, ACT, and the Alliance for Excellent Education to inform Congressional offices on ways the Act could create more opportunities for high school students to embark on college early.
"Throughout the negotiations over ESEA reauthorization during the past two years, dual and concurrent enrollment programs and early college high schools received strong support from elected officials of both parties, in both chambers, and the administration," said Adam Lowe, Executive Director of NACEP. "Federal statute now recognizes the importance of these college partnerships in high school student success, and places these models on equal footing with other accelerated learning approaches such as Advanced Placement."
During the 2010-11 school year, dual and concurrent enrollment programs enabled 1.4 million high school students to enroll in over 2 million credit-bearing college courses through colleges and universities nationwide. Through these programs, students gain exposure to the academic challenges of college while remaining in their supportive high school environments, earning college credit if they successfully pass the course. Multi-institution and statewide research studies in more than a dozen states provide strong evidence of the effectiveness of dual and concurrent enrollment coursework in college transition, persistence, and completion, especially for students traditionally underrepresented in higher education.
"Before coming to Congress, I founded a charter school network devoted to serving English language learners, and I've seen the incredible heights these students can reach when they're given the opportunity. Dual and concurrent enrollment is a model that has been used with great success in Colorado. By expanding the availability of dual and concurrent enrollment programs in Title III, ESSA will provide new opportunities for English language learners to get a jumpstart on their college education."
These statutory provisions that encourage federal investment in dual and concurrent enrollment follow a recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Education of a short-term experiment that will enable students at participating colleges and universities to access Pell Grants for dual and concurrent enrollment courses.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
NACEP held a webinar to preview how ESSA will create opportunities for states, postsecondary institutions, and local education agencies to leverage federal programs to further state and local dual and concurrent enrollment priorities.