Press Release: Jobs for the Future Applauds the Announcement of a Dual Enrollment Experimental Site for Federal Pell Grants

The announcement is an important step toward increasing college completion rates nationwide

Boston, MA – Jobs for the Future (JFF) applauds President Obama’s recent announcement of a dual enrollment experimental site for federal Pell grants. Across the country, 1.4 million students participate in dual enrollment, which enables high school students to enroll in college courses. However, Pell grants—the most important source of federal financial aid for low-income students aspiring to a college education—are not available to students who are still in high school. This experiment will help identify new approaches to enrolling more low-income students in early college and other dual enrollment programs. Early college designs, and other models that combine college and high school in a rigorous and supportive environment, have proven for over 10 years to significantly increase low-income students’ chances of college success, providing an effective pathway to college completion.

At a time when postsecondary education is critical to the economy, but only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a Bachelor’s degree by age 25 (compared to 54 percent in the top quartile), we need to dramatically increase the numbers of low income students gaining early exposure to college through dual enrollment.

“We and our partners strongly believe that this announcement will help give our nation’s low-income students access to effective career pathways programs that empower them to complete college successfully and pursue in-demand careers,” said Joel Vargas, Vice President of Jobs for the Future. “JFF has always advocated for expanding Pell grant access, and we strongly believe that the proposed experimental site has the potential to bring to bear smart and effective uses of Pell for dual enrollment that will result in persistence through college and credential completion.”

JFF works closely with our partners, which include Bard College, EDWorks, Middle College National Consortium, the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, and the Ohio Early College Association. These partners have worked closely with over 10,400 dual and concurrent enrollment programs, early college high schools, and their postsecondary partners across the country, with many more currently in development across the nation. We stand ready to work collaboratively with the Administration to ensure an effective and informative dual enrollment experimental site.

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future works to ensure that all underprepared young people and workers have the skills and credentials needed to succeed in our economy by creating solutions that catalyze change in our education and workforce delivery systems. Working with our partners, JFF designs and drives the adoption of innovative and scalable education and career training models and systems that lead from college readiness to career advancement. We also develop and advocate for the federal and state policies needed to support these solutions.