New to the site? Try Quick User Guide

We track anonymous visitor behavior on our website to ensure you have a great experience. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.

Provide All Students Access to College Classes

Three ways to provide college-level coursework to high school students


There are three primary designs for providing access to community college for high school students: dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and early college. Dual enrollment is a broad term that includes all programs through which high school students enroll in college or university courses. The college credits students earn are recorded on a transcript at the postsecondary institution and can be applied toward a degree there or transferred to other colleges or universities. The courses are typically provided at a discounted rate and are sometimes available at no cost to students when state or local funding is available. Concurrent enrollment is used to describe a common type of dual enrollment in which students take college-level classes taught by qualified high school teachers. Early college is a whole-school design that uses dual enrollment as part of a comprehensive model providing intensive supports and the opportunity to earn one to two years of college credit — up to an associate’s degree — for free. Early college high schools have proven particularly effective for young people from backgrounds underrepresented in higher education.

In Action:

  • Early College: Pathways in Technology Early College in Brooklyn, NY, is an early college 9-14 model. Connecting high school, college, and the world of work through college and industry partnerships, P-Tech serves grades 9-14, with the goal that their diverse, unscreened student population achieves 100 percent completion of an associate degree within six years. Read this news article on how this high school turns failing students into college grads.
  • Dual Enrollment: New Technology High School in Napa, CA, is a dual enrollment model. The flagship school of the New Tech Network and a district-created high school with 400 students, New Technology HS requires students to complete 12 units of college coursework in order to graduate from high school. This requirement has been in place since the school was founded in 1996. Students can access free college classes at the local community college and may receive financial support to purchase textbooks or bus passes. Additionally, the high school offers between two and six college classes on its campus, open to the public, every semester in partnership with the community college system.
  • Early College: Akron Early College High School in Akron, OJH is an early college high school 9-12 model. Located on The University of Akron campus, Akron is 1 of 9 schools in the district. It officially opened in 2007 and has approximately 320 students, 54 percent of whom are minorities, and over 95 percent who are economically disadvantaged. All students take college courses on the college campus with high school staff providing additional resources to help the students be successful.

Strategy Resources

Unlocking Time's strategy on access to college classes

There are three primary designs for providing access to community college for high school students... Learn More

Website Preview
How to Scale College in High School

A state policy guide for implementing dual enrollment and early college designs under the Every... Learn More