Early College High Schools: A Promising Approach for Underserved Youth

Early college high schools provide low-income, minority and other at-risk youth the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and as much as two years’ postsecondary credit within five years of high school entry. While many programs are still relatively new, emerging research suggests that students in early college programs perform better than their peers, as measured by attendance rates, enrollment in college-track mathematics courses, state assessment scores and other indicators. A small but growing number of states have enacted state-level policies to provide the unique funding mechanisms and supports that maximize student success in early college high schools.

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About the Author
Jennifer Dounay Zinth is a senior policy analyst with the Education Commission of the States (ECS). Since 2005, she has led the ECS High School Policy Center, which provides state policy information, analysis and research findings on a number of issues related to high schools, transitions to postsecondary, and P-16/P-20 alignment.

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