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Senators Hassan, Young Introduce Bipartisan Fast Track To and Through College Act

Bill Backed by Community College System of New Hampshire; Would Help Expand Early College Programs, Such as Running Start, Which Operates in Nearly 100 NH High Schools

WASHINGTON – Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Todd Young (R-IN) today introduced 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.

New Hampshire has extensive dual-enrollment programs in place, with almost 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.

“New Hampshire high schools are leading the country in enabling high schoolers to earn college credits – which challenges them academically, better prepares them for college, and can even save them on future tuition costs,” said Senator Hassan. “I’m glad to work across the aisle to help expand and support high-quality early college programs, so that even more high school students can have access to them and ensure that their hard work will count for credit once they start college.”

“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,” 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 Community College System of New Hampshire was an early leader in dual and concurrent enrollment opportunities for high school students, and these programs have supported student achievement and success across the Granite State,” said Ross Gittell, Chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire. “We appreciate and support the bipartisan efforts of Sen. Hassan and her colleagues to build an even stronger continuum of learning between secondary and postsecondary education in the United States.”

The bipartisan Fast Track To and Through College Act would create a grant program to help more high schoolers 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

A member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee, Senator Hassan has led efforts in the Senate to support affordable, quality education and advance workforce development programs. She introduced the bipartisan Gateway to Careers Act to provide grants to support partnerships between community or technical colleges and workforce development partners to strengthen New Hampshire’s workforce. Senator Hassan recently introduced bicameral legislation to support innovative competency-based education programs at colleges and universities. The President 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.

The bill has been endorsed by Alliance for Excellent Education, Community College System of New Hampshire, Third Way, Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Bard College, Complete College America, Inc., Education Reform Now, Georgia State University, Jobs For The Future, Knowledge Alliance, KnowledgeWorks, Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL), Middle College National Consortium, National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and Modern States Education Alliance


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