The House Education and Labor Committee recently held a field hearing in Flint, MI to look at the benefits of dual enrollment programs. Witnesses included administrators from local high schools, universities, and community colleges, as well as a student participating in dual enrolment. Rep. Dale Kildee (MI-05) reflected on the challenges that communities like Flint face during this economic downturn, and how access to higher education may help. Dual enrollment is one strategy to make higher education more affordable and accessible for students; for example, students who participate in dual enrollment “typically graduate with between 30 and 60 college credits – tuition free. This translates to as much as 1 – 2 years of college education.”
Rep. Kildee also offered a very interesting statistic: gifted students make up 20 percent of high school drop outs. The reason for this is that they are not challenged in their current high school programs. Dual enrollment offers these students the challenge of taking college level courses. This stat immediately made me think of CTE, which is another way to keep students challenged and for them see the relevancy of their high school work to the their futures. As you can see in NASDCTEc’s latest leave behind, many dual enrollment programs are in CTE areas.
Rep. Kildee, along with Sen. Herb Kohl (WI), has introduced the Fast Track To College Act which would provide funding to expand existing successful dual enrollment and early college programs and provide resources to establish new programs nationwide.