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Fast Track to college program

NASHUA – In an effort to help young people finish college with less student loan debt, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., is working to enhance opportunities for high schoolers to earn credits in higher education.

The bipartisan Fast Track To and Through College Act, which would create a grant program aimed at helping more students earn college credits while still in high school. Hassan has teamed up with U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., on the measure.

“I’m glad to work across the aisle to help expand and support high-quality early college programs, so that even more high school students can have access to them and ensure that their hard work will count for credit once they start college,” Hassan said.

Officials said the program endeavors to support early college programs, such as those already in place at several schools in Southern New Hampshire. Those include Hollis Brookline High School, Merrimack High School, Milford High School/Milford Applied Tech Center, Nashua High School North/Nashua Technology Center, Nashua High School South/Nashua Technology Center, Pelham High School, Souhegan High School and South Merrimack Christian Academy.

“New Hampshire high schools are leading the country in enabling high schoolers to earn college credits – which challenges them academically, better prepares them for college, and can even save them on future tuition costs,” Hassan said.

States that receive a fast track to college grant would be required to develop:

• High school graduation policies that allow students to complete their secondary course work prior to 12th grade;

• Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and dual-enrollment creditrecognition policies that apply at all in-state public colleges to ensure college-level course work taken in high school counts toward a college degree;

• Credit transfer agreements for introductory college courses that apply at all in-state public colleges to ensure college credits follow students between institutions; and

• Strategies for increasing equity in access to advanced course work in high school.

“The Community College System of New Hampshire was an early leader in dual and concurrent enrollment opportunities for high school students, and these programs have supported student achievement and success across the Granite State,” Community College System of New Hampshire Chancellor Ross Gittell said. “We appreciate and support the bipartisan efforts of Sen. Hassan and her colleagues to build an even stronger continuum of learning between secondary and postsecondary education in the U.S.”

“Early college programs help families avoid college debt while preparing students for postsecondary education. In Indiana, we have seen great success from programs like these,” Young added. “Our bill aims to provide resources so states can create a fast track pathway for students that includes access to advanced coursework, dual credits, and professional support.”