The wider we spread the word
the greater the focus on our goals.
boilerplate image

Press Room

April 26, 2018

Most Recent Press Release:

New All4Ed Report Asks Congress to Allow Federal Pell Grants to Support High School Students

Allowing Students to Use Their Pell Grants to Pay for Early College High Schools and Dual-Enrollment Programs Could Boost College Enrollment and Completion

WASHINGTON, DC—Early College High Schools (ECHSs) and dual-enrollment programs allow students to take college courses while still in high school. Research shows that students participating in these programs are more likely to enroll in college, post higher college grade point averages, persist, and ultimately graduate from college. Too often, however, costs associated with these courses are prohibitive for students from low- and middle-income families.

To reduce the cost burden associated with these courses, while increasing college enrollment and persistence rates for students from low-income families, students of color, and other historically underserved students, a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) recommends that the U.S. Congress include a pilot program in the Higher Education Act (HEA) that allows high school students to use their Federal Pell Grant awards to pay for college-level credit-bearing courses. Such a program could build on the Dual Enrollment Pell Experiment initiative that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is currently implementing.

“Early College High Schools and dual-enrollment programs give high school students a jump start on a college education,” said Bob Wise, president of All4Ed and former governor of West Virginia. “The programs are especially effective for students who traditionally face long odds of earning the postsecondary creditial that is so important in today’s economy. Unfortunately, not all high school students have access to these programs. Including a pilot program in an updated Higher Education Act could ensure that more historically underserved students graduate from high school ready for college—and with college credits to prove it.”

ECHSs and dual-enrollment programs enroll high school students in a variety of settings, including at traditional comprehensive high schools or on college campuses, notes the report, Now’s the Time: Early College and Dual-Enrollment Programs in the Higher Education Act. These programs, which were available at 53 percent of postsecondary institutions in the 2010–11 school year, also require high school–college partnerships to ensure the credits high school students earn count toward postsecondary credits.

According to one study cited in the report, students of color in ECHS programs are nearly 10 times more likely to obtain a college degree than comparison students, while low-income students in these programs are 8.5 times more likely to obtain a college degree. Despite this success, only 10 percent of high school students participate in programs that offer college-credit courses.

As predecent for permitting high school students to use Federal Pell Grant funds, the report points to ED’s Dual Enrollment Pell Experiment. Created in 2016, the program gave waivers to forty-four institutions nationally to allow high-need high school students to use Federal Pell Grants to take dual-enrollment and early college courses at their institutions.

As Congress works to rewrite HEA, the report recommends that Congress consider a pilot program based on ED’s Dual Enrollment Pell Experiment that contains the following student-level protections:

  • Ensure that students and their families are not responsible for any remaining institutional charges resulting from enrollment in the dual-enrollment pilot program.
  • Offer participating students the opportunity to earn the equivalent of at least twelve postsecondary education credit hours.
  • Offer participating students support services, such as academic tutoring, guidance counseling, assistance in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), high school-to-college transition support, and other services designed to increase preparation for, and success in, dual-enrollment programs.
  • Ensure that students’ participation in the pilot program would not count toward the twelve-semester limit for receiving Federal Pell Grants.

The report also includes recommendations focused on equitable opportunity for historically underserved students—including incarcerated juveniles, homeless students, and students in foster care; positive student outcomes and program quality; and accountability mechanisms and guidance for states, districts, and postsecondary systems.

“Opportunities for students to earn college credits while enrolled in high school can alter academic trajectories in a significant and positive direction, particularly for students from historically underserved backgrounds,” the report notes. “These efforts need continued attention from federal policymakers to improve access and affordability to open more pathways toward degree and credential attainment and expand opportunities for students to receive the education necessary for economic and personal success.”

Now’s the Time: Early College and Dual-Enrollment Programs in the Higher Education Act is available at

# # #

The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those underperforming and those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship.

Categories: College Graduation Rates, Higher Education, Pell Grants

More Press Releases:

Two Senior Obama Administration Advisors Join Alliance for Excellent Education’s Governing Board

March 14, 2018

The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) today announced the appointment of two outstanding individuals—Roberto J. Rodríguez and Leslie Cornfeld—to its governing board. Rodríguez is...

Future Ready Schools® Releases New Guide for Districts Looking to Blend Teaching with Technology

February 22, 2018

In conjunction with the seventh annual Digital Learning Day, Future Ready Schools® (FRS), an initiative of the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed), released a new guide for school districts...

Gov. Bob Wise Comments on New Jersey’s High School Graduation Rate Data, New District- and State-Level School Performance Reports

February 16, 2018

Today, the New Jersey Department of Education released new data on high school graduation rates, as well as new state and school district report cards. In response, Bob Wise, president of the...

See All Press Releases


Visit Source

August 28, 2017

Most Recent Op-Ed:

Analysis: Strong Incentives for Academic Progress in New York’s Early ESSA Plan, But Goals Could Be More Ambitious

By Phillip Lovell. While students are gearing up for the new school year, education leaders across the country have been hunkering down all summer to finish up their state education plans as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Sixteen states and the District of Columbia submitted their state plans to the U.S. Department […]

Categories: Every Student Succeeds Act

Visit Source

August 28, 2017

More Op-Eds:

Bob Wise & Daniel Cardinali: As ESSA Frees Up Federal Funds, Districts Should Invest in America’s ‘Graduation Dividend’

Visit Source

May 31, 2016

Over the next few weeks, America should reach an important new milestone. Thanks to a lot of hard work by educators everywhere, high school graduation rates have inched up 1 percentage point every...

Bob Wise & John Gomperts: Six Ways for State Governors to Help Raise the Nation’s High School Graduation Rate

Visit Source

April 7, 2016

Spurred on by increased federal oversight and hard work by teachers, parents and students, the number of U.S. high school dropouts has decreased – falling to 750,000 in 2012 from 1 million in 2008....

See All Op-Eds

Alliance in the News

More News Stories:

How High School Diploma Requirements Fall Short of College Admission Standards

Education Week

April 2, 2018

Most state high school graduation requirements are so poorly designed that they trap students in a "preparation gap," where they don't qualify for admission to public universities, according to a study released Monday.


Politico Morning Education

March 15, 2018

The Alliance for Excellent Education named Roberto J. Rodríguez and Leslie Cornfeld to its governing board. Rodríguez is the president and CEO of Teach Plus and previously served as deputy assistant for education to President Barack Obama. Cornfeld formerly served as special adviser to Education secretaries Arne Duncan and John B. King.

Release of Overdue Federal Report on ‘Homework Gap’ Validates Stakeholder Concerns


April 6, 2018

Nine months past deadline, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) — the research, development and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education — has released its report on digital learning discrepancies nationwide.

Oklahoma Walkouts May Just Be ‘Tip of the Iceberg’ for Teacher Protests


April 2, 2018

Oklahoma public school teachers participated in a statewide walkout, with tens of thousands gathering at the state capitol to urge legislators to increase education funding and salaries. In Kentucky, teachers rallied at the statehouse to protest changes to their pension system.

See All News Stories
Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.