Early College High Schools: Model Policy Components

Early college high schools are an increasingly popular approach to raise the high school completion and postsecondary participation rates of traditionally underserved students and meet projected workforce needs. This policy brief from the Education Commission of the States defines early college high schools, clarifies how they differ from traditional dual enrollment programs, and provides recent research on the positive impact of early college high school participation on academic outcomes for traditionally underserved students.

The paper also offers model state policy components that provide the necessary supports to ensure program access, quality and transferability of credit. Research suggests that participants in early college high schools are significantly more likely than other underserved students to graduate high school, enroll in college immediately after high school and earn a degree.