At least 10 bills have been introduced in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives during the 111th Congress encouraging further development of concurrent enrollment programs.
The version of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 (SAFRA) that originally passed the U.S. House of Representatives in September 2009 included $630 million for American Graduation Initiative (AGI) competitive challenge grants to support community colleges in developing new strategies and implementing proven programs to support an additional 5 million community college graduates by 2020. Grantees would have been required to implement at least 2 of 10 identified activities, one of which was “Building or enhancing linkages, including the development of dual enrollment programs and early college high schools” [H.R. 3221 Sec. 503]. AGI was eliminated due to budget concerns in SAFRA’s ultimate passage as part of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
In March 2010, the Obama administration proposed a new College Pathways and Accelerated Learning program in its Blueprint for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)and FY2011 Budget Request, to provide competitive grants to school districts to better prepare students for high school graduation and college success through dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and other accelerated learning opportunities. The President’s FY 2011 budget requested $100 million for the College Pathways program to “increase access to college-level, dual credit, and other accelerated courses in high-need high schools, and to support college-going strategies and models that will help students succeed.”
In April, NACEP’s Board of Directors passed a resolution supporting the passage of the College Pathways and Accelerated Learning program and encourages members to similarly support this legislation. While both the House and Senate held hearings on ESEA Reauthorization in the spring and summer of 2010, legislation has not yet been introduced. Prior to the start of the 2011 federal fiscal year on October 1, 2010, Congress had not passed the 2011 budget for federal education programs. Instead Congress passed a series of Continuing Resolutions temporarily funding all federal programs through March, based on fiscal year 2010 appropriations. The Continuing Resolutions does not make any statutory changes to the ESEA, which would be required to establish the College Pathways and Accelerating Learning initiative.
Other bills that have been introduced in the 111th Congress include the:
- Fast Track to College Act of 2009 [H.R. 1578 – Rep. Kildee and S. 627 – Sen. Kohl]
To authorize the Secretary of Education to make grants to support early college high schools and other dual enrollment programs.
- Secondary School Innovation Fund Act [H.R. 2239 – Reps. Loebsack and S. 968 – Sen. Reid]
To award competitive grants to eligible partnerships to enable the partnerships to implement innovative strategies at the secondary school level to improve student achievement and prepare at-risk students for postsecondary education and the workforce.
- Reengaging Americans in Serious Education by Uniting Programs Act [H.R. 3982 – Rep. Kildee and S. 1608 – Sen. Stabenow].
To prepare young people in disadvantaged situations for a competitive future.
- Graduation for All Act [H.R. 4122 – Rep. George Miller]
To support high-need middle and high schools in order to improve students’ academic achievement, graduation rates, postsecondary readiness, and preparation for citizenry.