HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Tuesday that the Connecticut Department of Education is awarding $3.8 million to expand the state’s Dual Credit Expansion Program for high school students.

The program enables high school students to earn college credits prior to graduation through partnerships with local colleges and universities. The $3.8 million in funds will go toward 83 applicants who represent 89 school districts across Connecticut.

Dual credit courses offer an alternative way for students to showcase their academic prowess as an alternative to traditional test-based measures (SAT, ACT, advanced placement, or International Baccalaureate Measures).

“Dual credit courses enable students to earn college credits while still in high school, giving them a head start on their requirements to complete postsecondary education while also helping reduce the financial burden of higher education costs,” Lamont said. “I am proud that we can support the expansion of these courses in our high schools and get students on the right track to begin successful, long-lasting careers.”

State officials said the dual credit courses can be part of traditional college pathways or career-oriented pathways that lead to industry-recognized credentials. The 83 applicants will take courses that are student-centered, equity and industry-aligned.

According to state officials, earning college credit courses positively contributes to a school’s accountability measure. Data from the Connecticut State Department of Education show improvement among students in the 11th and 12th grades earning three or more college credits prior to graduation.

“The Dual Credit Expansion Grant Program helps pave the way for more high school students to seize the opportunity to earn college credits before donning their graduation caps,” Connecticut Department of Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker said. “Dual credit courses, with their rigorous approach, demonstrate clear benefits in terms of college access, credit accumulation and degree or certificate attainment, ultimately empowering our students to embark on their postsecondary journeys with a head start and fiscal prudence.”

The Dual Credit Expansion Program is designed to increase rates and reduce disparities among student groups in the coming years.

Grant funds will be primarily used to:

  • create stipends for high school teachers and high education faculty to change course curriculum to align with college expectations
  • It will allow for tuition reimbursement for high school teachers to complete the coursework necessary to qualify as concurrent instructors
  • Purchase the necessary equipment for healthcare, manufacturing technology
  • Develop strategies to more effectively engage students and families in course selection by explaining the benefits of earning college credit while in high school

To learn more about the Connecticut Department of Education’s dual credit opportunities, click here.