Over the last few weeks, a number of national leaders from across the political spectrum have highlighted the importance of concurrent and dual enrollment.
In her short tenure as Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has twice focused on dual enrollment programs. On her first visit to a college campus as Secretary, she visited Valencia College in Orlando, Florida where she highlighted the college's programs that provide high school students pathways to college degrees in high-demand technical fields. She held roundtable discussions with students who have taken or are enrolled in dual enrollment classes.
Secretary DeVos also referred to dual enrollment programs as "visionary" in a recent speech she made to community college leaders. She noted, "you're helping high school students earn college credit and degrees through approaches that are accessible, faster and more affordable than ever."
In the U.S. House of Representatives, concurrent and dual enrollment was repeatedly commented on during a hearing about re-authorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in the House Education and the Workforce Committee in February. Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R) of North Carolina posed this question: "Concurrent enrollment lowers cost of higher ed. Why don't we do more of that?"
As both chambers of Congress begin conversations around HEA re-authorization, a number of congressional champions reintroduced the bipartisan Making Education Affordable and Accessible Act (MEAA) to expand opportunities for high school students to take college courses. The bill was introduced by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Boozman (R-AR) and Al Franken (D-MN), and U.S. Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO) and Tom Reed (R-NY). If enacted, MEAA would provide grants to higher education institutions to create and expand innovative dual and concurrent enrollment and early college programs. MEAA is supported by NACEP, the College in High School Alliance, and numerous other national and state-level organizations.
Building on our successful work in prior reautorizations of the Higher Education Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, NACEP will continue to work with Congressional supporters to advance policy that supports high quality college courses for high school students.