“When you have both high school teachers and college instructors supporting students, they get double encouragement”
A new report found when high school students enroll in early college programs, it improves the chances they will go on to college after graduation.
The Massachusetts Early College Initiative links high school students, especially those who are low-income, with community college courses, in an effort to reduce achievement gaps.
Nancy Hoffman, senior adviser at Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the report’s author, said experiencing college courses in high school can show students they can do the work if they have sufficient support. It is also a way to get a head start on college credits without worrying about finances, because early college courses are free.
“When you have both high school teachers and college instructors supporting students, they get double encouragement, “Hoffman pointed out. “And tutoring and intervention when needed, to complete their college courses successfully.”
The report said 60% of early college students in 2021 identified as Black or Latino. And more than half came from low-income backgrounds. It also found 64% of Massachusetts students who had taken early college courses enrolled in higher-ed, compared with 38% of their peers.
Hoffman added JFF and other early college partners are aiming to get students graduating from high school with up to 30 credits completed.
“What we have learned over 20 some years of working on early college, is that motivation, support, encouragement and an early start, really prove that young people want to go to college,” Hoffman explained. “They want the opportunity, and are willing to work very hard.”
She noted the data is still out on college completion and earnings for students who took early college courses in high school. Since 2017, the Early College Joint Committee created by the Department of Education has designated more than 30 programs, serving 41 high schools, with 21 higher-education partners.
Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.