Early Colleges/Middle Colleges: College Partners Can Be Two-Year/Four-Year/Both
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Early Colleges/Middle Colleges: College Partners Can Be Two-Year/Four-Year/Both

This database indicates the scope of postsecondary partners a district may choose from to develop an early college or middle college high school.

Why does it matter?
  • Including four-year institutions increases the likelihood that credits will be accepted should a student choose to transfer into a four-year program.
  • Many community college personnel are experienced at catching up students who are behind.
  • Two-year programs are particularly adept at providing students with opportunities to use their skills and knowledge in real-world situations.

    Highlights
  • Six states — Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas — allow two- and four-year institutions to serve as postsecondary partners in early/middle college high school programs.
  • One state — California — specifies that only two-years may serve as the postsecondary partner in middle college high school partnerships.
  • Three states — North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee — authorize private postsecondary institutions to participate in early/middle college partnerships.

    What's not included in this database:
  • While partnerships between districts and postsecondary institutions make early and middle college high schools available in many states, the state policies governing these partnerships are often either intended for dual enrollment, charter or alternative programs. Such policies are not usually a good fit with the unique characteristics of early and middle colleges. State policies included here are specifically designed to provide a comprehensive structure for early and middle college high schools.
  • State policies that address early college or middle college in piecemeal fashion but do not address the overall structure or functioning of programs.
  • State programs that allow high school students to earn substantial amounts of postsecondary credit but do not appear to fully align with the early or middle college model (i.e., West Virginia EDGE).

    As of August 2008, seven states have explicit state-level policies governing the creation of local early and/or middle college high school partnerships. States whose local early/middle college programs are governed by dual enrollment or charter school policies are not included in this database.

    Sources for all data points are accessible through this link.

    Methodology: This information was collected from state statutes, rules and regulations, and state education agency Web sites, and will be updated as new policies and programs are enacted.

    Last updated: August 20, 2008

    This database was compiled by Jennifer Dounay Zinth, project manager, ECS High School Policy Center. For questions, additions or corrections: 303.299.3689 or jdounay@ecs.org.


  • College partners can be two-year/four-year/both
    California Two-year
    Colorado Both (four-year institutions offering a two-year degree program, area vocational schools, and junior colleges that are part of a junior college district)
    Michigan Not set in policy, but in practice, college partners are public two- and four-year institutions. A postsecondary partner receiving a grant to implement a middle college focused on health sciences must be a community college or state public university.
    North Carolina Both (public and private four-year institutions, community colleges)
    Pennsylvania Both (nonprofit two- and four-year public and private colleges and universities, and eligible private licensed schools approved to operate in the state)
    Tennessee Both (public and private colleges and universities, community colleges and technology centers)
    Texas Both (public two-year colleges and universities, and technical schools)

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