Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Federal Policy /

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed December 10, 2015, 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.

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.

Additional Resources from the College in High School Alliance

In 2016, NACEP joined with four partner organizations to launch the College in High School Alliance – a coalition of 50 leading national and state organizations committed to raising awareness and support for dual and concurrent enrollment and early college opportunities. One of the first priorities of the Alliance has been to work with states to incorporate dual and concurrent enrollment into their state plans for implementing ESSA.