Gov. Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker announced on Friday that $5.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding would be going to support dual credit programs in Connecticut high schools.
Dual credit programs are offered in partnership with both public and private colleges and universities and allow students to earn college credit while still in high school. The courses can be part of a bachelor’s degree program or can be earned toward trade industry credentials and certifications.
The plan is to take $3.5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, while the remaining $2 million will come from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.
That money will then be used to fund grants through the State Department of Education. Those grants will be available to school districts working on one of the following:
- creating new dual credit course articulations in partnership with one or more higher education partner;
- providing curriculum development stipends for teachers and college faculty to modify high school course content to align with college expectations;
- providing financial support for current teachers who need additional coursework to qualify as instructors for concurrent enrollment courses; and
- developing strategies to educate students and their families of the benefits of earning college credit during high school.
“This investment to expand access to dual credit course offerings in Connecticut is an investment in our students’ academic and professional futures,” said Commissioner Russell-Tucker in a statement. “By providing them with the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school, we are helping to reduce the financial burden of higher education and preparing them for success in college and careers.”
The Lamont administration believes that expanding dual credit courses will increase students’ post-secondary readiness across the state. Readiness is indicated by high scores on SAT, ACT, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests, or a C grade or higher on three non-remedial college courses.
In the 2021-2022 school year, the Department of Education says 43.5% of students reached those benchmarks.