The Early College Education Program


The Early College Education Program allows high school students, particularly those who are designated as being “at risk of dropping out,” to work concurrently toward their high school diploma and an associate degree. The program offers flexibility in scheduling to the student, so they can work at a faster or slower pace as their schedule allows.

The Early College Education Program

Section 1. Definitions

(a) “Program” means the Early College Education Program.

(b) “Student at risk of dropping out of school” means a student who:

a. Is under 26 years of age, currently participates in an adult education program, and meets any of the following conditions:

i. Was not advanced from one grade level to the next for one or more school years, excluding prekindergarten;

ii. Is pregnant or is a parent;

iii. Has been placed in an alternative education program during the preceding or current school year;

iv. Has been expelled during the preceding or current school year;

v. Is currently on parole, probation, deferred prosecution, or other conditional release;

vi. Has dropped out of school at any point during the student’s lifetime;

vii. Is in the custody or care of the [insert state social services organization] or has, during the current school year, been referred to the [insert state social services organization] by a school official, officer of the juvenile court, or law enforcement official;

viii. Is homeless;

ix. Resided in the preceding school year or resides in the current school year in a residential placement facility in the district, including a detention facility, substance abuse treatment facility, emergency shelter, psychiatric hospital, or halfway house;

x. Has been incarcerated or has a parent or guardian who has been incarcerated within the student’s lifetime.

(c) “Institution of higher education” means a college, university, or similar institution, including a technical or business school, offering postsecondary level academic instruction that leads to an associate or higher degree.


Section 2. Administration

(a) The [insert state higher education authority] shall establish and administer an early college education program for students who are at risk of dropping out of school or who wish to accelerate completion of the high school program.

(b) The program must:

(1) Provide for a course of study that enables a participating student to combine high-school courses and college-level courses during grade levels 9 through 12;

(2) Allow a participating student to complete high school and enroll in a program at an institution of higher education that will enable the student to, on or before the fifth anniversary of the date of the student’s first day of high school, receive a high school diploma and either:

(A) An applied associate degree, as defined by [insert state higher education authority] rule; or

(B) An associate degree that can be applied toward a baccalaureate degree at one or more institutions of higher education.

(3) Include articulation agreements with colleges, universities, and technical schools in this state to provide a participating student access to postsecondary educational and training opportunities at a college, university, or technical school; and

(4) Provide a participating student flexibility in class scheduling and academic mentoring.

(c) The [insert state higher education authority] may accept gifts, grants, and donations from any source, including private and nonprofit organizations, in order to administer the provisions of this section.

(d) The [insert state higher education authority] shall collaborate with the [insert state workforce development authority] to develop and implement a strategic plan to enhance private industry participation under this section. The plan must include:

(1) Strategies to increase private industry participation; and

(2) Incentives for businesses and nonprofit organizations that choose to make donations and work with high schools that participate in a program under this section to maximize job placement opportunities for program graduates.

(e) Not later than [insert date], the [insert state higher education authority] shall provide a report that summarizes the strategic plan developed under subsection (d) to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, the Governor, and the [insert state workforce development authority]. The [insert state workforce development authority] and the [insert state higher education authority] shall each make the report available on their respective websites.

(f) The [insert state higher education authority] may adopt rules as necessary to administer the program. The rules may provide for giving preference in receiving program benefits to a student who is in the first generation of the student’s family to attend college.