As a leader in the rapidly growing early college movement, one of the Center for Early College’s primary aims is ensuring that students across the country have access to high-quality early college opportunities, either through Bard or another institution. Recognizing that public policies surrounding this work have to allow for the model to grow and be financially sustainable, Bard works at the federal, state, and local levels to promote policies that that support these programs.
Insufficient student engagement and academic preparation in secondary school, coupled with the rising cost of college, have resulted in low college completion rates. Of students who graduate high school and enroll in college, only 31 percent in associate’s degree programs earn a degree within three years, and only 60 percent in bachelor’s degree programs earn a degree within six years.
While the United States is home to some of the world’s most renowned colleges and universities, many of its public high schools—often just neighborhoods away—have failed to adequately motivate students and prepare them for college. Though a college degree is increasingly correlated with greater employment opportunities and earnings, the costs of higher education have become prohibitive for too many students.
A Smart Solution
We believe investing in early college programs is an important policy solution to improving high school education and increasing college access, affordability, and completion. The early college model offers an elegant solution to two of the biggest issues in American education today. In addition to saving students, families, and government thousands of dollars, early colleges create a more efficient, cost effective, and equitable educational delivery system that can, and should, be offered across the country.
To address these issues, the Bard Center for Early College advocates for new approaches
at the federal, state, and local levels that help to establish and support early college
high schools and other dual enrollment programs. Such policies sustain and strengthen
high-quality programs such as the Bard Early Colleges and expand access to transformative
college opportunities for public high school students nationwide.