Pa. awards $6.7M to support schools’ dual credit programs | Tuesday Morning Coffee
The programs help students ‘get a jump start on their postsecondary coursework,’ acting Education Secretary Dr. Khalid N. Mumin said
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Some 100 schools statewide will share in $6.7 million in state grant money aimed at supporting dual credit programs that prepare students for life after high school, the Shapiro administration said Monday.
Such programs allow students to take college-level courses at the same time they’re finishing their high school requirements, allowing them to earn credits for both. The programs also give students an advance taste of the kind of work they’ll be expected to complete while they’re in college.
“Dual credit programs help high school students get a jump start on their postsecondary coursework, build their confidence, and set them up for future success,” acting Education Secretary Dr. Khalid N. Mumin said in a statement.
Qualifying schools will use up to $75,000 in grant funding to create or expand equitable and innovative dual credit opportunities “for all secondary school students, including students experiencing educational instability, students enrolled in career and technical education programs, low-income students, and historically underserved student groups,” the state Department of Education said in its statement.
You can see a full list of the qualifying school districts here.
Research shows that such programs have a “positive impact on high school academics, high school graduation rates, college enrollment, college success, and college completion rates. Research on a New York City dual enrollment program found that it improved postsecondary attainment, reduced time to degree and increased student academic performance,” according to an analysis by the U.S. Dept. of Education.
In its statement, the state Education Department made the same argument.
“Dual credit programs improve student outcomes—helping learners prepare for college and setting them up for future success in higher education—by enabling them to take college courses and earn credits for both high school and college. Dual credit offerings improve academic achievement, high school graduation rates, college enrollment, and college completion rates,” the agency said.
But while it’s growing in many districts nationwide, the program “is often underutilized for historically marginalized learners,” according to the U.S. Education Department.
Dual enrollment “is often less accessible at schools that serve larger proportions of lower-income communities and communities of color. Even when it is available, students from these same communities participate at lower rates. If attention is not paid to developing equitable [dual enrollment] policies at the local and state level, the outcomes for marginalized groups will continue to match this pattern,” Luke Rhine, the deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Career, Technical & Adult Education, wrote in the September 2022 analysis.
On Monday, Pennsylvania’s Mumin underlined the utility of such programs.
“When [Gov. Josh] Shapiro talks about giving students the freedom to chart their own course and the opportunities to succeed, this is what he means,” Mumin said. “By expanding dual credit opportunities across the Commonwealth, we will help more students access these programs, become exposed to new opportunities, and begin to chart their own course to successful and fulfilling careers.”
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