JFF: ‘Early college’ boosts college enrollment

Students in “early-college high schools” are more likely to complete high school and go on to college, reports Jobs for the Future. Ninety-three percent of students in JFF’s network – 246 early-college schools with 75,000 students — complete a high school diploma in four years,  compared to a national average of 75 percent, according to the JFF report. Seventy-six percent of network graduates enroll immediately in college, compared to a national rate of 68 percent.

At early college high schools open for at least four years, 23 percent of students earn a college certificate or associate degree along with their high school diploma.  The average early-college graduate earns 36 college credits. That’s equivalent to more than a year of college — if all credits are accepted for transfer.

Saving money on college is a big issue for early-college students and their parents, reports JFF. More than half of early-college students come from low-income families, more than two thirds are Latino, black or Native American and xx percent are the first in their family to attend college.

The early-college model appears to be working, reports College Bound.

Allowing students to take even one college-level class in high school can significantly increase the chances of going to and completing college, research from JFF last fall revealed.

The American Institutes for Research has evaluated the Early High School College Initiative and found students in these schools outperform their peers on state standardized assessments and have higher on-time graduation rates than students in surrounding districts.

To reach students with the most need, JFF is shifting early colleges from a small schools model to a “systemic high school reform strategy, writes Joel Vargas on the JFF blog. With a five-year, $15 million federal Investing in Opportunity (i3) grant, JFF will partner with Denver Public Schools, Educate Texas, Brownsville ISD, and Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD to spread the early college design to 30,000 new students.