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New Policy Coalition Launches to Expand High-Quality College Options for High School Students 

Posted by Lexi Barrett On March 25 2017

On March 2, early college and dual enrollment advocates took to Capitol Hill to educate members of Congress, their staff, and members of the new Administration about the benefits and potential of early college and dual enrollment programs.  This activity was part of the launch of the College in High School Alliance, a new coalition formed by JFF and other national education and policy organizations.  The CHSA believes that greater support for these models at the federal, state, and local levels will significantly improve the secondary and postsecondary outcomes of students.

While dual enrollment and early college programs have been in place for years, even decades, the movement is just now seeing a raised profile among policymakers in DC and state capitals across the country.  There are many reasons for this new attention, but a primary driver is the imperative felt by policymakers on both sides of the aisle to identify avenues for students to achieve relevant degrees and credentials quickly for lower costs.  As college costs continue to rise and the demand for degrees and credentials in the job market grows, evidence-based acceleration strategies like dual enrollment and early college are becoming more appealing.  As a result, we have seen policymakers from across the political spectrum—from liberal Democrats in the Senate to the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos—talking about early college and dual enrollment.

The College in High School Alliance (CHSA) will leverage this important moment to continue to raise awareness and build support for college pathways options that ensure more students graduate high school and persist to completion of a postsecondary degree or credential.  The goals of CHSA include: 

  • Develop and advance a shared federal policy platform regarding dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and early college high schools for the new Administration and the 115th Congress
  • Help states establish the policy environments to develop, strengthen, and expand these unique learning opportunities for students
  • Raise awareness of dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and early college high schools and their impact on student achievement
  • Marshal existing resources and cultivate new champions with diverse perspectives to support the growth of these programs 

JFF is proud to be an original member of CHSA’s steering committee, which is also comprised of Bard College, KnowledgeWorks, the Middle College National Consortium, and the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, that helps guide the work of the coalition.  And the work is already well underway.  Last month, CHSA released “How to Scale College in High School,” a roadmap for states that want to leverage the Every Student Succeeds Act to support the implementation of early college and dual enrollment in their states and communities as well as a webinar outlining these ESSA opportunities.

Over the next few months, CHSA will work to further develop federal policy priorities on topics such as the Higher Education Act and the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act while keeping members informed about activity in Washington, DC and around the country.

CHSA will continue to raise awareness for its work during Early College High School Week, a celebration of schools around the country participating in dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and early college models, which will take place April 2 – April 8, 2017. Learn more at www.jff.org/ECweekinfo.