New policy coalition launches to expand high-quality college options for high school students

KnowledgeWorks joins more than 35 national and state organizations in effort to advance policies that support dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and early college high school opportunities

Topics: Early College High School, Education Policy

A new policy coalition launched on Capitol Hill today to advocate for policies that increase student access to high quality college options in high school including dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment and early college high schools (ECHS).

The College in High School Alliance (CHSA), a coalition comprised of more than 35 leading organizations, is committed to raising awareness and support for college pathway options that ensure students are more likely to graduate high school and persist to completion of a postsecondary degree. KnowledgeWorks is one of CHSA’s five founding members.

“Scaling approaches like ECHS is essential to our nation’s long-term economic viability,” said Judy Peppler, president and CEO at KnowledgeWorks. “But more importantly, ECHS opens the door for low-income, first-generation students to go to college. We are excited to be a part of CHSA and look forward to working with policymakers to grow these opportunities for students.”

ECHS, along with high-quality dual enrollment and concurrent enrollment, offers opportunities for high school students to take college courses for college credit. Students who participate in these school designs are more likely than their peers to graduate high school, immediately enroll in a post-secondary institution and persist to completion.

KnowledgeWorks has nearly 15 years of experience partnering with schools throughout the country to build and implement highly successful ECHS environments, which have been field tested in 50 school districts across eight states. In those districts, 79 percent of students complete at least one year of college credit before they graduate high school. In addition, one in three earns an associate’s degree or 60 hours of transferable college credit.

“ECHS is a whole-school transformation approach that can effectively target students at risk of dropping out of high school,” KnowledgeWorks Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Matt Williams said. “But without the necessary policy supports on a state and federal level, scaling ECHS will be nearly impossible. With our partner organizations through CHSA, we will have the collective power to hopefully improve the policy environment for these schools.”

CHSA advocates for greater support for these models at the federal, state, and local levels to significantly improve the secondary and postsecondary outcomes of students, particularly those from low-income and middle-class backgrounds. Its goals 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.

CHSA consists of over 35 national and state organizations committed to advancing the goals above. A steering committee comprised of Bard College, Jobs for the Future, KnowledgeWorks, the Middle College National Consortium, and the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships helps guide the work of the coalition.

Additionally, the following organizations have joined CHSA as Associate Members: ACT, Inc.; Advance CTE; Alliance for Excellent Education; America Forward; American Association of Community Colleges; American Indian Higher Education Consortium; American Youth Policy Forum; Arkansas Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships; Association for Career and Technical Education; AVID Center; California Coalition of Early & Middle Colleges (CCEMC); Center for American Progress; Center for Excellence in Leadership and Learning – University of Indianapolis; Complete College America; Educate Texas; Education Commission of the States; Foundation for Excellence in Education; Gateway to College; IBM; Indiana Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (INCEP); The Institute for Evidence-Based Change (IEBC); Michigan Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships; Michigan Early/Middle College Association (MEMCA); Missouri Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships; National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP); National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP); New America; New England Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships; New York Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NYCEP); Ohio Alliance of Dual Enrollment Partnerships; Ohio Early College Association; SERVE Center, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; State Higher Education Executive officers Association (SHEEO); and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).

About KnowledgeWorks

KnowledgeWorks is a national nonprofit organization advancing a future of learning that ensures each student graduates ready for what’s next. For more than 20 years, we’ve been partnering with states, communities and leaders across the country to imagine, build and sustain vibrant learning communities. Through evidence-based practices and a commitment to equitable outcomes, we’re creating the future of learning, together.