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Bill would provide college grants for high school students

Sen. Mark R. Warner (D.-Va.), along with Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), recently introduced the “Go To High School, Got To College Act” to increase college access for low-income students by allowing them to earn college credits in high school through the Pell Grant program.

The bill is intended to maximize the efficiency of federal student aid and improve outcomes for students.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, an Ohio Democrat, and New York Republican Rep. Chris Gibson introduced an identical version of this bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Broadening access to the Pell Grant program so that students are able to earn meaningful credits for college while they are still in high school will increase college completion rates, reduce the time and cost of earning a degree, and give more lower-income students a fair shot at a college education,” Warner said

“Too many low-income students face obstacles when deciding whether to pursue a college education,” Portman added.

“Our legislation will allow these students to get a head start on college courses in high school, therefore improving their chances of completing a college degree,” he said. “It also provides more flexibility within the Pell Grant program, allowing more students to graduate from college.”

Leon Botstein, president of Bard College, said, “Early college cuts the wasted time in high school and offers a challenging college curriculum for college credits within the high school years.

The data proves that students from diverse backgrounds are ready to start college at an earlier age; doing so dramatically increases their likelihood of their completing associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. This bill provides a path forward.”

More than 300 early college high schools across the country are reported to have improved college readiness and college completion rates of low-income students who have traditionally been under-represented in post-secondary education.

These schools provide students the opportunity to simultaneously pursue a high school diploma while earning college credits up to an associate’s degree, tuition-free.

A 2013 American Institutes for Research evaluation of early college high schools found significant increases in college enrollment and completion among early college students.

Specifically, the study found that 81 percent of early college students enrolled in college, compared with 72 percent of comparison students.

During the evaluation period, 25 percent of early college students earned an associate’s degree, as compared with only 5 percent of comparison students.
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