Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker recently announced a $3.8 million investment to expand dual credit offerings for high school students in Connecticut. The funding, awarded to 83 applicants representing 89 school districts across the state, aims to enable more high school students to earn college credits prior to graduation.
Dual credit courses provide students with an alternative to traditional test-based measures, such as the SAT or ACT, to demonstrate their readiness for postsecondary education. Research has shown that these courses have positive effects on college access, enrollment, credit accumulation, and degree attainment. By accumulating college credits in high school, students can get a head start in their postsecondary programs and save on education costs.
Governor Lamont expressed his pride in supporting the expansion of dual credit courses in high schools, stating that they give students a head start on their postsecondary education and help reduce financial burdens. Commissioner Russell-Tucker highlighted the benefits of dual credit courses in terms of college access, credit accumulation, and degree/certificate attainment, empowering students to embark on their postsecondary journeys with a head start and fiscal prudence.
These dual credit courses can be part of both traditional academic college pathways and career-oriented pathways leading 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 focus on student equity and industry alignment.
The expansion of dual credit courses also contributes positively to a school’s accountability measures. Data from Connecticut universities shows improvements among all student groups in the percentage of 11th and 12th graders earning three or more college credits before high school graduation. Statewide, there has been an increase of about 1,400 students earning college credits in a single year.
The Dual Credit Expansion Grant Program, funded by federal COVID relief grants, aims to significantly increase the rates of students earning college credits in the coming years while reducing disparities among student groups. The grant funds are primarily being used for stipends for teachers, tuition reimbursement, the purchase of specialized equipment, and strategies to engage students and families in the course selection process.
The Connecticut State Department of Education will also use the relief funds to support higher education partners by strengthening program quality standards through the National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) and increasing institutional capacity to meet the growing demand for dual credit courses.
For more information on dual credit opportunities in Connecticut, interested individuals can visit the Connecticut State Department of Education’s website at portal.ct.gov/dualcredit. A list of the 83 applicants receiving grants from the Dual Credit Expansion Grant Program is also available for download on the website.
Overall, the investment in expanding dual credit offerings for high school students in Connecticut is a significant step towards providing more opportunities for students to earn college credits and prepare for their future careers. The benefits of these courses, including increased college access, credit accumulation, and cost savings, are invaluable for students seeking to achieve their educational and professional goals.