5 ways to improve early college high school programs

Early college would help low-income and underrepresented students overcome COVID's educational disruptions
By: | January 14, 2021
Students work together at the Bard High School Early College Baltimore. (photo taken pre-COVID)Students work together at the Bard High School Early College Baltimore. (Photo taken pre-COVID)

Early college high school programs that let students to experience the intensity of college courses and earn higher ed credits are “underutilized and under-resourced,” says a new report.

A rigorous high school curriculum is one of the most important factors in a students’ success in earning a college degree, according to a report by Bard College in upstate New York, which operates a network of early college programs in several cities, including Baltimore, Cleveland, New York City and Washington, D.C.

In the coming months, early college programs could be an effective tool in helping low-income and underrepresented students overcome the challenges of COVID, the report says.

“These programs offer an on-ramp to college and the workforce and are proven to significantly increase rates of high school graduation and postsecondary success, particularly for students from low-income and historically underrepresented backgrounds,” the authors of the report say.


More from UB: 5 New Mexico colleges launch groundbreaking partnership


Numerous other studies have shown the positive impacts early college high school, including reducing the cost of higher ed as students can start college with a substantial amount of credits, the authors note.

Though the report is focused on New York, it offers five strategies that can be used to improve early college high school programs elsewhere:

  1. Add a clear definition of dual-enrollment and early college high school to state code.
  2. Create a recurring state funding stream for oversight of early college high school.
  3. Report on state-designated program regularly.
  4. Allow credits earned during high school to count towards college graduation requirements.
  5. Facilitate effective transfer of early college high school credits to colleges and universities.

More from UBHBCUs to launch ‘game-changing’ Propel Center in fall