Skip to content

ICYMI – Laconia Daily Sun: Fast Track would let high schoolers take college classes

LACONIA – In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan recently led a discussion at Lakes Region Community College in Laconia about her bipartisan legislation to help more students earn college credits while still in high school, lowering costs for students and increasing graduation rates.

New Hampshire has extensive dual-enrollment programs in place, with almost 100 high schools in the state offering the Early College program in partnership with the Community College System of New Hampshire – which Lakes Region Community College is part of. These types of early college programs provide academically prepared high school students with the opportunity to earn college credit while they are still in high school, allowing them to save money on college tuition. At the discussion, Senator Hassan heard from members of the community about how this legislation would strengthen Lakes Region Community College’s participation in the Early College program, which allows high school students in the Laconia region take college courses for credit.

Read more from the Laconia Daily Sun here or below:

Laconia Daily Sun: Fast Track would let high schoolers take college classes

By Gabriel Perry

LACONIA — Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) visited faculty and staff at Lakes Region Community College on April 25 to discuss the introduction of bipartisan legislation to create a grant program aimed at helping high school students earn college credits.

The bill, introduced in March and co-sponsored by Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), is called the Fast Track To and Through College Act and would support students enrolled in early college programs, such as the one at LRCC, to take up to a full year of college courses, and would ensure that public colleges and universities would accept those credits.

“I am focusing on making sure that students can get the kind of education they ended to prepare them to work in the 21st century economy and we know that one of the things that impacts all places, but regions like this one, is having people ready to work with the skills that the local economy really needs,” Hassan said in an interview. “Lakes Region has been at the forefront of trying to make sure that its educational offerings align those needs. It’s also really important that we allow students a lot of flexibility about accessing these programs in a way that makes sense for them.”

The bill will support high school students in their pursuit of college credits by: allowing students enrolled in early college programs to take up to a full-year of courses; ensure that students enrolled in early-college courses will receive credit by requiring public colleges and universities to accept those credits; and by expanding access to Pell grants to low-income students to decrease the burden of dual-enrollment fees.

Metrics such as affordability and accessibility of advanced education are paramount to the economic success of places like the Lakes Region, Hassan said.

“Affordability is key, we want to have more early college programs that really, we’re talking about a continuum of education for young people from high school through community college and getting them through their studies or their training as fast as we can,” she said. “The other thing is employers in a region like this, driven among other things by travel and tourism but also with a lot of needs for advanced manufacturing workers, they need to know that they can get a workforce quickly and that they can also partner with their community college to make sure that some of the curriculum is really going to prepare the students in a way that makes them readily available, so it’s a really important partnership in this region.”

The collaboration between local, state and federal partners will be necessary to develop an infrastructure to better serve local economies, Hassan noted.

“This is about partnerships and relationships, as we’ve heard, and I think that the investment that the State’s been able to make, the investment that we continue to make at the federal level that we want to expand, is going to be very important,” she said. “What I hope young people understand is that they are all capable of doing the thing they love and we want to make sure that they are trained and educated in a way that helps them follow their passions, earn a good living so that they can support a family, and make sure that they have the skill sets that they need to be the kind of citizens that they want to be.”