The Origins of Early College
Potential as the Only Prerequisite
Millions of students each year fail to graduate or leave high school unprepared for college—not because of low ability, but because of low expectations. Early College began from a simple thought: rigor, not remediation, will help more students move on to college. Rather than lowering expectations, Early College High School raises the academic bar for students to increase their engagement and motivation to succeed in school. The national Early College High School Initiative began in 2002 with funding and support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Jobs for the Future. Now, according to the Early College High School Initiative, more than 240 Early College High Schools exist in 26 states. As a result, students with diverse backgrounds and accomplishments, often underrepresented in higher education, now have the opportunity to tackle the academic challenges provided by college-level courses to excel in high school and pursue higher learning. These students are moving from low expectations to high achievement.