State Grants Expand High School Dual Credit Programs
Connecticut is investing $3.8 million in 89 school districts across the state to help students receive college credits for courses they are taking in high school.
Gov. Ned Lamont and State Department of Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker said the Dual Credit Expansion Grant Program will enable more districts to create new partnerships with public and private institutions.
It will also allow districts to create more innovative courses that are student centered, equity focused, and industry aligned.
“Dual credit courses enable students to earn college credits while still in high school, giving them a head start on their requirements to complete postsecondary education while also helping reduce the financial burden of higher education costs,” Lamont said.
The state is using federal COVID relief funding for the grants.
The grants will support initial costs for districts to invest in dual credit programs through stipends for teachers to create curriculum that aligns with the college expectations and tuition reimbursements for teachers to complete qualifications to teach the courses.
Districts can also use the funds to buy specialized equipment for healthcare, manufacturing, and technology fields.
“This dual enrollment investment is a terrific start,” said Shannon Marimón, executive director of CBIA affiliate ReadyCT.
“When students have the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school, all metrics aside, they can become inspired to learn and pursue degrees that align with opportunities in high-growth, high-demand industries right here in Connecticut.”
Of the 89 districts receiving funding, many serve Connecticut’s largest cities and surrounding towns including Bridgeport, Danbury, East Hartford, Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to give students in high school more academic and financial options,” said CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima.
“Annually, more than 10,000 Connecticut residents do not go on to a two- or four-year college after graduating high school.
“If we can get more students engaged in these courses, it will give them more career opportunities.”
The dual-credit courses can be part of traditional academic college pathways as well as career-oriented pathways that lead to industry-recognized credits.
DiPentima said districts offering industry-recognized credits provide students with the skills-based learning they need to start at many companies across the state.
“Connecticut employers are willing to continue to train students once they have the initial skills they need,” said DiPentima.
“Given ongoing talent shortages, Connecticut employers of all sizes and representing a broad range of sectors have become increasingly willing to hire right out of college and even high school,” added Marimón.
“To make employment attractive many employers are even offering tuition assistance which—for students unable or unwilling to take on college debt—can serve as a much-needed complement to the dual enrollment program in pursuit of a two- or four-year degree.”
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