New research confirms that getting a head start earning college credit in high school pays off.
A multiyear study analyzing schools in the Early-College High School Initiative—funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—found students in such high schools were much more likely to enroll and complete college than matched peers who had applied for the schools’ admission lotteries but attended traditional high schools. (The Gates foundation also supports coverage of the education industry and K-12 innovation in Education Week.)
Nearly 25 percent of graduates from early-college high schools earned a college degree (typically an associate degree) two years after graduation, compared with 5 percent of their peers in other high schools, according to a report issued last week by the Washington-based American Institutes for Research. Overall, air has reported that 81 percent of early-college high school students enrolled in college, compared with 72 percent of students attending traditional schools. The schools did not have a significantly higher impact on attending a four-year college than students attending other high schools during the study period.
In the early-college model, students can earn up to two years of college credit or an associate degree through partnerships with nearby colleges and universities. The initiative, which now includes 240 early colleges, started in 2002. This latest report updates findings from last June and is based on an additional year of postsecondary data for students who were in 9th grade during the academic years 2005-06 through 2008-09. Earlier evaluations only looked at students one year past high school graduation. The overall study sample included 2,458 students, who were followed up to four years after high school, through the summer of 2013.
A version of this article appeared in the January 22, 2014 edition of Education Week as Study: Early-College Schools Improve Persistence