Federal Programs

Federal Policy /

Federal Programs

While states have taken the lead in enacting concurrent enrollment policy, numerous federal policies encourage the development of concurrent enrollment partnerships between secondary schools and institutions of higher education. The U.S. Department of Education regularly includes dual and concurrent enrollment in policy guidance and grant guidelines for a number of new and existing programs:

Federal Pell Grant Experiment for Dual Enrollment

Across the country, 1.4 million students participate in dual and concurrent enrollment, which enables high school students to enroll in college courses. However, Pell grants—the most important source of federal financial aid for low-income students aspiring to a college education—are not available to students who are still in high school. This experiment will help identify new approaches to enrolling more low-income students in early college and other dual enrollment programs. (Federal Register Notice)

ESEA Flexibility

The ESEA Flexibility initiative has encouraged states to shift away from high school accountability systems based solely on standardized testing to ones that incorporate a wider range of college and career readiness indicators. Nine of the states that have received ESEA Waivers from the Department – Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas – include dual and concurrent enrollment classes as an indicator of college readiness as part of their annual measurable objectives formulas. A number of others are currently considering such a move. Missouri and Virginia did not include such an indicator as a measurable objective, but both will continue to include dual and concurrent enrollment in calculations for differentiated recognition under existing state accountability systems. A number of other states/districts, such as Ohio, North Carolina, and New York City, include such indicators in school report cards or other public reporting systems, without tying it to enforceable school accountability

College Access Challenge Grants

These matching grants support state efforts to increase the number of low-income students prepared for and succeeding in college. Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and North Dakota have used CACG funds to provide dual enrollment scholarships for low-income students, as well as grants to colleges and consortia to establish new and expand existing dual enrollment programs.

School Improvement Grant

Department guidance for School Improvement Grants identifies accelerated coursework, including dual enrollment, as a turnaround strategy for raising the rigor of the curriculum in low-achieving high schools. The Department’s Handbook on Effective Implementation of School Improvement Grants (2011) identifies dual enrollment partnerships with higher education institutions as one of five structural changes that low-achieving high schools might take to create enhance learning opportunities.

Race to the Top

School turnaround strategies for low-achieving high schools included increasing the rigor of curriculum through accelerated coursework, including dual enrollment. Race to the Top also included priorities for states to increase P–20 coordination, vertical and horizontal alignment as well as university partnerships to support STEM education.

Promise Neighborhoods

Dual enrollment included in cradle-to-career community, school and college partnerships to significantly improve educational levels in distressed communities