Early College High School

What is Early College High School?

The Early College High School Initiative (ECHSI) was established in 2002 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Over the past two decades, Early College programs have expanded rapidly nationwide with research indicating that student outcomes within this innovative model are consistently positive.

Students simultaneously earn their diploma and cost-free college credits while in high school so that, following graduation, they can continue, rather than begin, their education. Several studies show that this approach increases student engagement in learning and provides opportunities to examine college and potential careers that align with their strengths and interests. The ECHS model is also a proven and effective approach to closing the equity gap in education. Programs are designed to increase equitable access and offer the underserved and underrepresented population a path to post-secondary education.

Increase Degree Attainment

Students are more likely to complete college by earning college credits towards postsecondary education.

Provide Equitable Access

By prioritizing underrepresented students, ECHS is an effective program to ensure equitable access

Promote Career Pathways

Expose students to a variety of high-value career opportunities that are in demand in your region

The ECHS model also understands the intersecting factors driving education and the economy:

  • Traditionally underserved student populations constitute a growing proportion of the US school population
  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that through 2024, 11 of the 15 (73%) occupations with the highest projected growth will require a college degree, and six (40%) will require a workforce credential

By understanding the needs of the local workforce, ECHS programs expose students to a variety of careers in demand in your community. By promoting career pathways, educators can begin to close the gap between education and employers.

The ECHS model responds to these factors, with its priority being college and career readiness for student populations historically marginalized in college and high-growth careers.

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Relevant Resources

Webinar: Enhanced Student Support – Massachusetts Early College

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