Michigan Sees Dramatic Growth In Early College Participation, Success

Early College Allegan County logo The number of Michigan students enrolling in Early/Middle College programs has increased 101 percent in the past four years, the Michigan Department of Education announced.

The number of Early/Middle College programs available for students has increased 112 percent over that same time period, and the number of high school students participating in dual enrollment programs has increased over 22 percent.

The Early College Allegan County (ECAC) program began in the 2015-16 school year with 35. There are currently 130 students enrolled and working toward an Associate of Applied Arts and Science or Applied Business or Machining Certificate.

“Every student in Michigan deserves a path to a great education that gets them on a path to a good job, and I’m happy that more students can access resources like early and middle college programs,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “This is good news for our students, our families, and our economy as a whole. There’s more work to do, and I will partner with everyone who wants to ensure paths to success for every Michigander.”

State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said more Michigan students are benefitting from growing opportunities to increase their learning and earning.
“They are immersing themselves in college-level courses and earning college credits while still in high school,” Dr. Rice said. “These growing programs help our students prepare for postsecondary and career success and help their families save on college tuition as students earn college credits funded through their school district.”

“The Early College of Allegan County, in partnership with Lake Michigan College, has been honored to serve the districts of Allegan County,” said ECAC Dean Evy Houser. “A total of 6,489 college credits have been earned to date.  At today’s tuition rate of $156.75 per contact hour at Lake Michigan College, this is a cost savings to families upward of $1,012,284.00. Thank you Allegan Area ESA, local districts, Allegan Tech Center, and Lake Michigan College for this program. Students leaving the program are college and career ready and will continue to strengthen Allegan County.”

The number of Early/Middle College programs has increased from 67 across the state in the 2014-2015 school year to 142 programs in the 2018-2019 school years. Early/Middle College programs provide combined high school and college courses over a five-year period, where students can graduate with a high school diploma and a post-secondary certificate, professional certificate, associate degree, or up to 60 transferrable college credits. Early/Middle College student enrollment in Michigan has risen from 6,485 students in the 2014-2015 school year to 13,065 students in the 2018-2019 school year. Students have earned an average of 40 college credits through their programs.

Participation of Michigan high school students taking dual enrollment classes, where they take individual college courses while still attending high school, has risen from 23,422 students in the 2014-2015 school year to 28,711 in the 2017-2018 school year. Through those years, students have earned an average of 14-15 college credits from dual enrollment classes that can be transferred to a college or
university.

Dr. Rice added that the expansion of Early/Middle College and dual enrollment participation is consistent with both Governor Whitmer’s “60 by 30” effort (60 percent of all Michigan adults with a postsecondary credential by the year 2030), and former Governor Rick Snyder’s effort to expand postsecondary course work for high school students.

“It is in the best spirit of doing right by Michigan school children, irrespective of partisan politics,” Dr. Rice said.