Early college high school (ECHS) programs have received the flexibility they need to support teens graduating with a high school diploma and an associate degree thanks to a new provision from the Ohio Department of Education. The new provision allows ECHS programs to request an exemption from the requirements of College Credit Plus (CCP), provided the program meets the ECHS standards and is approved by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Chancellor of Higher Education. The provision also presents a new, more robust, definition of early college high school.
While both early college high school programs and College Credit Plus programs are offered free to students across the state there are some key distinctions including number of credits and student supports offered as well as populations served.
“Early college high school programs provide increased access and success by offering a clear pathway to college for students who otherwise may not have attended,” explained Matt Williams Chief Operating Officer and Vice President, Policy and Advocacy. “The state is giving early college programs the increased flexibility they need to serve their unique population of students by differentiating it from the College Credit Plus program.”
According to the Ohio Department of Education, ECHS programs must prioritize the following students:
- Students who are underrepresented in regard to completing post-secondary education;
- Students who are economically disadvantaged, as defined by the Ohio Department of Education;
- Students whose parents did not earn a college degree.
The language used throughout new provision incorporated a significant amount of feedback provided by members of the Ohio Early College Association (OECA), a group of early college high school programs convened by KnowledgeWorks. With policy and advocacy support from KnowledgeWorks, the OECA articulated the distinctions between ECHS and CCP in conversations with the state.
KnowledgeWorks also released this infographic to explain the unique differences between the two programs.
“Early college high school programs are one part of the solution to increasing access to higher education, especially for some of our most vulnerable students,” said Katie Varratta network manager at KnowledgeWorks. “This is a big win for the association and for early college programs across the state.”
Exemptions will be offered beginning in the 2018-2019 academic school year.
Learn more about College Credit Plus and early college high school by visiting the Ohio Higher Education website.