U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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Polis legislation will allow more high school students to earn college credit

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Washington, March 28, 2017 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., reintroduced bipartisan legislation to help make college more affordable and accessible by expanding access for high school students to earn college credit. The Making Education Affordable and Accessible Act (MEAA) would provide grants to eligible institutions of higher learning to create dual and concurrent enrollment and early/middle college programs that allow high school students to earn college credits before their high school graduation.

“Allowing more students to attain college credit while still in high school puts them on a clear track to achieve a college degree and excel in the workforce,” Rep. Polis said. “In a day and age when college costs are skyrocketing, dual or concurrent enrollment programs are one of the most effective ways to bring down the cost of college dramatically and quickly.  These programs already work across Colorado, from urban to suburban to rural areas, from large to small school districts. They show students, especially students who are the first in their family to go to college, that earning a college degree is possible.”  

According to the Colo. Dept. of Higher Education, 94 percent of Colorado districts offer concurrent enrollment options, and participation grew 10 percent over the last year alone.

“Colorado's concurrent enrollment program helps lower costs and shorten time to degree, which can be life changing for our students pursuing postsecondary education,” said Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education.  “As we look to improve access and make college affordable for all students, concurrent enrollment is a cost-effective way to leverage K-12 and higher education partnerships.”

The Making Education Affordable and Accessible Act (MEAA) would allow Higher Education Act Title VII Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) funding to be used to provide grants to colleges and universities. These grants can be used to:

  • Offer dual and concurrent enrollment programs as well as early/middle college programming, including covering tuition, fees, books and materials for students;
  • Provide professional development services to teachers in these programs; and
  • Support course design, course approval processes, community outreach, student counseling and support services.

"Congressman Polis' proposed legislation will benefit students by making college-level education more accessible and affordable," said Dr. Bruce K. Messinger, Superintendent, Boulder Valley School District. “It supports BVSD's mission to create challenging, meaningful and engaging learning opportunities so that all children thrive and are prepared for successful, civically engaged lives."

The Making Education Affordable and Accessible Act (MEAA) is supported by a broad coalition of national educational organizations, as well, including the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, Council of Chief State School Officers, ACT, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Council for Community and Education Partnerships, National Education Association, Knowledge Alliance, Community Training and Assistance Center, the American Federation of Teachers, BARD College, Jobs for the Future, Middle College National Consortium and Education Northwest.

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Tags: Education

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