Idaho gives students money for AP and other early college experiences.

Retrieved from The Hechinger Report.

Every seventh grader gets $4,125 to spend on early college credits, other extras.

At the beginning of this school year, the state put $4,125 in an online account  every  Idaho seventh- through 12th-grader to spend on any academic boost they think they need to be better prepared for college.

The new money for students comes as part of a 20-point state plan to improve K-12 education, spearheaded by Idaho’s state legislature.

One goal of the program is to encourage more high school students to earn college credits and take AP courses and exams, which can often be cashed in for college credits.  As part of the push to get more kids to attend college, the state hopes to even the playing field for students from lower-income families and to ensure no student is discouraged from taking on advanced coursework because of the cost. Taking college courses in high school could also lower long-term costs for students, advocates of the practice say.

Despite relatively little hard data on how much it helps students, the push to have more students graduate with a few college courses and credits already under their belts has been gaining steam for a decade now in at least a dozen states. More than 1.4 million students took such courses during the 2010-2011 school year, the last period for which federal figures are available.

That number has likely grown since then as more students, not just the highest achievers, have begun to sign up for these courses, said Adam Lowe, executive director of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, which pushes for and accredits such programs.

“They are no longer the Doogie Howser programs,” Lowe said, in a reference to the fictional teenage genius played by a young Neil Patrick Harris in the 1990s TV series of the same name. “Those exist, but in many states now they’re seeing students who are college bound, and saying, ‘Let’s give them a chance to take college early.’”

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