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Jasey, Schaer, & Calabrese Bill to Establish Dual Enrollment Study Commission Approved by Assembly

In an effort to help high school students properly prepare for college, the Assembly passed legislation on Monday sponsored by Assembly Democrats Mila Jasey, Gary Schaer and Clinton Calabrese that establishes the Dual Enrollment Study Commission. The measure now heads to the Governor’s desk for further consideration.

According to the bill (A-3636), the purpose of this commission is to develop a statewide framework to use in the future implementation of an expanded dual enrollment program. Through the program, all college-ready high school students will be eligible to enroll in up to 15 college credits at a partnering institution of higher education while still enrolled in high school.

“By allowing students to enroll in college level classes during high school, they will be able to get an idea of what full-time higher education coursework is like,” said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). “Adjusting to the college environment can be difficult, and a dual enrollment program will help to make the process much smoother.”

The commission will study issues related to the implementation of an expanded dual enrollment program and will:

· Identify the costs associated with the implementation of an expanded program;

· Survey institutions of higher education about possible tuition discounts;

· Identify ways to minimize or eliminate the program costs borne by school districts;

· Study the viability of including transportation services in the program;

· Review information related to the utilization of dual enrollment programs throughout the State;

· Study the effect of dual enrollment programs on college participation rates, college graduation rates, and the average time to degree;

· Assess the rigor of dual enrollment courses;

· Develop any other proposals that the commission believes would increase the success of an expanded dual enrollment program; and

· Research and develop proposals for sustaining and expanding early college high schools.

“A dual enrollment program introduces students to new points of view and broadens their academic experiences,” said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). “It creates space for internships or foreign study. Today’s job market is highly competitive, but by setting students on an early track for college we set them on a track to gain knowledge, wisdom, and gainful employment in an ever increasing complex workforce.”

The bill states that the commission will consist of 11 members, including the Secretary of Higher Education and the Commissioner of Education, both ex officio or a designee. The commission will also include the individual who served as the Chair of the College Affordability Study Commission which was established in 2015 as well as eight members appointed by the Governor including one from each of the following organizations: the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, the New Jersey Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the New Jersey School Boards Association, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, and the New Jersey Presidents’ Council.

“Not only would a dual enrollment program give students higher education experience, it could also save students and their families some of the cost of tuition,” said Calabrese (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Developing the dual enrollment commission will help to find ways in which, by participating in this program, college can become more affordable.”

Upon the completion of its work but not later than one year after the commission organizes, the commission will issue a statewide framework for use in the future implementation of an expanded dual enrollment program, according to the sponsors. The framework is required to ensure that dual enrollment programs in effect prior to the organization of the commission are able to continue.

The bill passed the Assembly on Monday with a vote of 76-0.