May 20, 2021

Senators Hassan and Young Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help High School Students Earn College Credit

Elements of Hassan-Young Bill Included in Larger Bipartisan Package to Expand STEM Early College Opportunities to Help U.S. Outcompete China

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Todd Young (R-IN) reintroduced the bipartisan Fast Track To and Through College Act, which would create a grant program aimed at helping more students earn college credits while still in high school. Senators Hassan and Young are working to include elements of their bill, including expanding access to college-level STEM classes for high school students, in the Endless Frontier Act, a bipartisan bill to help the United States boost innovation and outcompete China.

 

“We must do all that we can to ensure that our students are given the opportunity to gain the skills that will help them thrive in our modern economy,” said Senator Hassan. “The bipartisan Fast Track To and Through College Act will better prepare students for higher education while also helping to make college more affordable. I’ll keep working to push for an expansion of dual enrollment and early college programs, including in the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act.” 

 

“Early college programs help families avoid college debt while preparing students for postsecondary education. In Indiana, we have seen great success from programs like these, and their value will only be amplified as we continue to rebuild from the pandemic,” said Senator Young. “Our bill aims to provide resources so states can create a fast track pathway for students that includes access to advanced coursework, dual credits, and professional support."

 

The bipartisan Fast Track To and Through College Act would create a grant program to help more high school students receive college credit toward their future postsecondary degree. The bill supports early college programs like the ones in New Hampshire by:

  • Allowing students enrolled in early college programs to take as much as a full year of early college courses toward their postsecondary degree or credential
  • Ensuring that students receive credit for the classes that they take by requiring public colleges and universities to accept credit from early college programs
  • Expanding access to the programs by allowing Pell Grants to cover dual-enrollment costs for low-income, Pell-eligible students in states receiving a fast-track grant

 

Senators Hassan, Young, and colleagues are working to include additional measures in the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act, which Senators Hassan and Young both helped introduce, to help the U.S. outcompete China, create jobs, and invest in American manufacturing. Additions to the bill from the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee include a grant program to help high school students receive college credit in STEM fields – and these provisions are based off of Senator Hassan and Young’s Fast Track To and Through College bill.

 

New Hampshire has extensive dual-enrollment programs in place, with more than 100 high schools in the state offering the Running Start program in partnership with the Community College System of New Hampshire. These types of early college programs provide academically-prepared high school students the opportunity to receive college credit while they are still in high school.

 

The bipartisan Fast Track To and Through College Act is supported by Advance CTE, Alliance for Excellent Education, Austin Community College District, Bard College, Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH), Complete College America (CCA), Digital Ready, Third Way, EdAllies, Education Reform Now, Empower Schools, Highland Community College, Jobs for the Future (JFF), Kentucky Community & Technical College System, KnowledgeWorks, Learn to Earn Dayton, Linked Learning Alliance, Mesalands Community College, Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL), Middle College National Consortium, Modern States Education Alliance, National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, National Association of Secondary School Principals, N2College®PreK12-Adult Funding Prep, Ohio Early College Association, The Bridge of Southern New Mexico, and Workforce Career Readiness.

 

Senator Hassan has led efforts in the Senate to expand access to workforce development programs. She recently joined her colleagues in introducing the bipartisan Innovation Zone Act to better support programs that help students to succeed academically and professionally. Earlier this year, the Senator also led her colleagues in reintroducing the bipartisan Gateway to Careers Act, which Senator Young also cosponsored, that would support career pathways strategies that combine work, education, and support services to help individuals earn recognized postsecondary credentials. Former President Trump also signed into law the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act, which included critical priorities for New Hampshire that Senator Hassan fought for, including authorizing additional funding for states to implement high-quality career and technical education programs.

 

Read a one-pager on Senator Hassan and Young’s bill here.

 

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