Our Models

What Are College In High School Programs?

College in high school programs such as dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and early college high school are effective models for promoting postsecondary access and success, particularly for low income students, students of color, and other students who are historically underserved and underrepresented in higher education. 

While there can be significant variation among college in high school programs in terms of modality, structure, and terms, the College in High School Alliance has developed a definition of the core elements that all college in high school programs share, regardless of their differences in program structure or nomenclature:

For more information, see our Glossary of Terms for College in High School Programs

College in High School Programs: College in high school programs are partnerships between school districts and accredited institutions of higher education that provide high school-age students an intentionally-designed authentic postsecondary experience leading to officially transcripted and transferable college credit towards a recognized postsecondary degree or credential.

Why Are College In High School Programs Important?

At a time when postsecondary completion rates are unacceptably low, college costs are reaching unsustainable levels, and where there is increasing need for economically-relevant degrees and credentials, college in high school programs increase postsecondary credential completion and affordability by creating the academic momentum research shows improves students’ college access and success.


These programs play an important role in the education system, bridging K-12 and postsecondary education to provide seamless pathways for students to and through college and into career. As a result, other education policy initiatives may include student participation in college in high school programs as an important component of the student’s pathway to success. These include: