Giving Compass' Take:

• According to Max Eden at the Manhattan Institute, Idaho's dual enrollment programs are pillars of success for other states to replicate in providing students with paths to success.

• What are the benefits of these educational innovations for students of all backgrounds? Are you prepared to support the institution of dual enrollment programs in your community?

• Learn more about the benefits of dual enrollment programs in high schools.

Dual enrollment programs, in which high school students enroll in college courses, have gained traction nationally in the past two decades, but Idaho’s “Advanced Opportunities” initiative has been particularly successful. When students reach seventh grade, Idaho provides them with $4,125 that can be used to pay for dual enrollment courses, Advanced Placement exams, professional certification examinations, “overload” high school courses (above a full schedule), and, as of this school year, workforce development and apprenticeship courses. This student-centered investment has encouraged high school teachers to partner with community colleges and four-year universities to provide college-level instruction—an arrangement that also provides teachers with a financial stipend and postsecondary institutions with an enrollment boost. State policymakers seeking ways to improve the quality of high school instruction and expand postsecondary access and attainment can benefit from Idaho’s example.

Importing curricula from colleges into high schools can raise the rigor of instruction. And colleges, especially community colleges, tend to be more attuned to local workforce demand than traditional public high schools. Given that 30% of dual enrollment courses are CTE courses, a robust dual enrollment system helps prepare students who aren’t college-bound for a successful career.

Whereas some states directly reimburse colleges, or provide additional funding to high schools, or provide partial or full reimbursement to students, Idaho is the only state that puts money for dual enrollment directly into students’ hands. This report describes the mechanics, origin, and institutional effects of Idaho’s initiative, which is a useful model for legislators and policy advocates in other states who are searching for ways to improve the quality of high school instruction, decrease the cost of college, and help students who are not college-bound graduate high school with a professional skill.

Read the full article about Idaho's dual enrollment programs by Max Eden at Manhattan Institute.