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Early Colleges/Middle Colleges: Program May Award Associate's Degrees

This database indicates whether state policy authorizes early/middle college high school programs to award students an associate's degree.

Why does it matter?
  • Having a credential matters. For underserved students who might not have earned an associate's degree otherwise, early college high schools provide a key opportunity.

    Highlights
  • Five states — Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — authorize early or middle college programs to grant associate's degrees.
  • Four states — Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee — allow early or middle college programs to offer students the opportunity to complete technical certification programs.
  • Two states — California and Pennsylvania — do not appear to authorize early or middle college programs to award associate's degrees.

    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.
  • Program may award associate's degrees
    California
  • No
  • Colorado
  • Yes
    Notes/Citation: Or career and technical education certificate
  • Michigan
  • Yes
    Notes/Citation: In practice, students may choose to earn technical certification
  • North Carolina
  • Yes
    Notes/Citation: Programs must allow students to earn "a high school diploma in less than four years, to begin or complete an associate degree program, to master a certificate or vocational program, or to earn up to two years of college credit."
  • Pennsylvania
  • No
  • Tennessee
  • Yes
    Notes/Citation: Programs must allow students to earn "a high school diploma in less than four years, to begin or complete an associate degree program, to master a certificate or diploma in a career or technical program, or to earn up to two years of postsecondary credit[.]"
  • Texas
  • Yes
    Notes/Citation: Programs must allow students to complete an associate's degree or at least 60 semester credit hours toward a bachelor's degree.


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