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Early Colleges/Middle Colleges: Who May Establish (Charter, LEA, etc.)

This database indicates the K-12 entities that are authorized to enter into a partnership with a postsecondary institution to launch an early/middle college.

Why does it matter?
  • The level of flexibility in who is allowed to authorize may impact the number of programs that start up.


  • Highlights
  • A district or LEA may establish an early or middle college high school in seven states: California, Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.
  • In Colorado, only certain districts with pre-existing agreements or graduation rates below 75% in 2004-2005 are authorized to establish an early college high school.
  • In Pennsylvania, an area vocational-technical school may serve as the K-12 partner to establish an early or middle college high school.

    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, project manager, ECS High School Policy Center. For questions, additions or corrections: 303.299.3689 or jdounay@ecs.org.

    Who may establish (charter, LEA, etc.)
    California Local school district. A charter school in some cases acts as an LEA and as such, could establish a middle college high school, but to date no charter has established a charter middle college high school.
    Colorado Eligible district in cooperation with at least one two-year institution, area vocational school, or junior college that is part of a junior college district.
    Michigan School district, intermediate school district, or charter school ("public school academy")
    North Carolina LEA and at least one local board of trustees (of a community college, "constituent institution of the University of North Carolina, or private college located in North Carolina.")
    Pennsylvania District or an area vocational-technical school and at least one nonprofit two- or four-year public or private college or university, or an eligible private licensed school approved to operate in the state.

    While charter, private, nonpublic or home schools may not enter into partnerships with postsecondary institutions to create early/middle college programs, a student enrolled in any of these options and who meets entry criteria may enroll in concurrent courses that are part of a concurrent enrollment program in the student's district of residence or the area vocational-technical school.
    Tennessee LEA in cooperation with at least one public postsecondary institution
    Texas District or open-enrollment charter school


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