Today, 80% of good-paying jobs require postsecondary education, and 56% require at least a bachelor’s degree. However, students are insufficiently prepared for, and have inequitable access to, higher education. 70% of entering students at public two-year colleges require remediation to master content they should have learned in high school, including nearly 80% of Black students and 75% of Latino students. Worse, only 60% of first-time college freshmen graduate within six years—and there are major completion gaps between White students (64%), Black students (21%), and Latino students (32%).
All4Ed identifies and promotes policies to close these gaps and create more seamless postsecondary transitions. Because we believe race- and income-based disparities in college preparation, enrollment, and completion are caused, in large part, by inequities in K–12 schooling, we seek to expand access to college pathways (such as dual enrollment) and better align K–12 and higher education systems.
Higher Education Act
The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA)—last updated in 2008—provides a critical opportunity to align expectations between high school and higher education, support college in high school programs, and make college more accessible and affordable for students who have been underrepresented in higher education. All4Ed’s agenda for HEA reauthorization includes several priorities to cut college costs and eliminate disparities in college access and completion by:
- reducing the need for remedial course work through the Promoting Readiness in Education to Prevent Additional Remediation and Expense (PREPARE) Act;
- accelerating time to degree by rethinking senior year of high school through the Fast Track To and Through College Act; and
- removing financial barriers for low-income high school students to participate in dual or concurrent enrollment through the Go To High School, Go to College Act.
A Fast Track to College
When high school students demonstrate college readiness, they should be able to take college-level course work, full-time, without financial barriers that could prevent them from pursuing an expedited path to a degree. In Building a Fast Track to College, All4Ed and Education Reform Now introduce two accelerated Fast Track pathways for college-ready students.
By redesigning the senior year of high school, Fast Track pathways can increase college access and completion and reduce college costs for students, families, and states. While the report provides recommendations for states, the bipartisan Fast Track To and Through College Act would authorize federal funding to states to develop Fast Track pathways and allow Pell Grants to cover dual-enrollment costs for eligible low-income students.
Dual Enrollment and Early College High Schools
Dual or concurrent enrollment programs and early college high schools allow students to take college courses while still in high school. Research has shown that students participating in these programs are more likely to enroll in higher education, earn higher grade point averages, and persist and graduate with a degree. However, the costs of college in high school programs are too often prohibitive for students from low- and middle-income families. Learn more below.