Getting an early start on college

Approximately 1 in 4 high school juniors meet all four benchmarks for college readiness, according to ACT. Approximately one-third of those students come from low-income families, and around 30% are from frequently disadvantaged racial minority groups.

A new report from Education Reform Now and the Alliance for Excellent Education recommends that these students be given the opportunity to begin their college educations early. They recommend two different tracks, both of which would ultimately reduce students’ overall college tuition costs.

The first track would allow students to remain in high school while enrolling in a full-time courseload of college-level work, through Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or similar programs. States would need to require that public colleges and universities accept credit from these programs.

The second track would allow students to graduate from high school a year early and go immediately to college, with scholarship assistance. The scholarship amounts would need to be large enough to be meaningful.

Combined, these programs could free up funds at both the high school and college level that could be re-invested in high school education.

Source: Dannenberg, M. & Hyslop, A. (2019). Building a fast track to collegeNew York, NY: Education Reform Now & Alliance for Excellent Education.

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