What is House Bill H.R. 937?
This bill would authorize the Secretary of Education to award 6-year grants that will either establish or support early college high schools and dual enrollment programs.
Through a mix of classes, early college high school programs allow students to earn a high school diploma and an Associate degree (or up to two years of college credit) — tuition free. Dual enrollment programs give high school students the opportunity to take a college-level courses.
The bill would especially encourage low-income students to enroll in these programs in order to promote their engagement in higher education.
High school students, their families, dual enrollment programs, early college high school programs, college admissions, community college and university administrators and educators, the Secretary of Education, and the Department of Education.
Cost of House Bill H.R. 937
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable. However, the bill authorizes $150,000,000 for 2016 and "such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2017 through 2021.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation teamed up with several other foundations in 2002 to fund Early College High School Initiatives. Operating in over 200 schools in 28 states and D.C., its stated goals include:
"[focusing] on young people for whom the transition into postsecondary education is now problematic. Its priority is to serve low-income young people, first-generation college goers, English language learners, and students of color, all of whom are statistically underrepresented in higher education and for whom society often has low aspirations for academic achievement."
Those who do not support initiatives that aim to bring "college to all" claim that the U.S. focuses too narrowly on pushing students through higher education:
"Our schools should instead offer students multiple pathways during and beyond high school including rigorous career and technical training, career counseling, apprenticeship programs, work-based learning, and smoother routes to community college."
Sponsoring Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) Press Release (Previous Bill Version)
The Hill (Previous Bill Version)
Dual Enrollment Fact Sheet
Early College High School Initiative Overview and FAQ
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