Governor Lamont and Commissioner Russell-Tucker Announce $3.8 Million Investment To Expand Dual Credit Offerings for High School Students
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker today announced that the Connecticut State Department of Education is awarding $3.8 million to 83 applicants representing 89 school districts across Connecticut to expand dual credit offerings in high schools. The primary objective of the state’s Dual Credit Expansion Grant Program is to enable more high school students to earn college credits prior to graduation through partnerships formed between high schools and public and private colleges and universities.
Dual credit courses offer a rigorous alternative to traditional test-based measures (e.g. SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate) for students to demonstrate their postsecondary readiness. They have been found in research to have positive effects on students’ college access and enrollment, credit accumulation, and college degree attainment. Accumulating college credits in high school can help students get a jump start in their postsecondary program, while also saving money.
“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,” Governor Lamont said. “I am proud that we can support the expansion of these courses in our high schools and get students on the right track to begin successful, long-lasting careers.”
“The Dual Credit Expansion Grant Program helps pave the way for more high school students to seize the opportunity to earn college credits before donning their graduation caps,” Commissioner Russell-Tucker said. “Dual credit courses, with their rigorous approach, demonstrate clear benefits in terms of college access, credit accumulation, and degree or certificate attainment, ultimately empowering our students to embark on their postsecondary journeys with a head start and fiscal prudence.”
Dual credit courses can be part of traditional academic college pathways or career-oriented pathways that lead to industry-recognized credentials. The plans of the 83 applicants demonstrate new partnerships with public and private institutions of higher education and innovative courses that are student centered, equity focused, and industry aligned.
Earning college credit in high school contributes positively to a school’s accountability measure. Data received by the Connecticut State Department of Education from Connecticut universities show improvements among all student groups in terms of the percentage of 11th and 12th graders earning three or more college credits prior to high school graduation. Statewide, this increased by nearly two points from 22.3% in 2021-2022 (more than 17,500 students) to 24.1% in 2022-2023 (more than 18,900 students), an increase of about 1,400 students statewide in a single year. State, district, and school-level results are available in the Postsecondary Readiness dashboard on EdSight (ct.gov).
Percentage of Grade 11 and 12 Students Earning Three or More College Credits
The Dual Credit Expansion Grant Program is designed to significantly increase these rates in the coming years while also reducing disparities among student groups. These one-time federal COVID relief grant funds will support the start-up costs necessary to increase dual credit offerings in high schools. Grants funds are primarily being used for the following:
- stipends for high school teachers and higher education faculty to create/amend course curricula to ensure that course content aligns with college expectations;
- tuition reimbursement for high school teachers to complete the coursework necessary to qualify as concurrent enrollment instructors;
- purchase specialized equipment for healthcare, manufacturing, technology, etc.; and
- strategies for more effectively engaging students and their families in the course selection process by explaining the benefits of earning college credit in high school such as skipping introductory courses in college, saving money on postsecondary tuition, and building confidence and skills needed to be successful in college and careers.
In addition to supporting high schools, the Connecticut State Department of Education will also use the relief funds to support our higher education partners. These funds will be targeted toward strengthening program quality standards through the National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP), pursuing NACEP accreditation, and increasing institutional capacity to meet the growing demand for dual credit courses.
For more information on the Connecticut State Department of Education’s dual credit opportunities, visit portal.ct.gov/dualcredit.