Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said he wants every high school student in the state to earn an associate’s degree or other higher education credential after graduation so they are “ready to go right away.” in life”. Cardinal News reported. That could mean making such a degree a high school graduation requirement, Youngkin said.
In his words, given at an event co-organized by tidings on southwest Virginia economic development, Youngkin said he plans to seek a budget amendment in December to expand the state’s existing Early College Scholars program to encourage high school students to dual-enroll in community colleges or vocational programs .
“What we want to do is work with industry and work with our higher education institutions and vocational training institutions to make sure that in high school, you have a chance to explore your dreams, to try new things and if you just decide to go. for college, you’ll be ready,” Youngkin said. “And if you choose to go into the workforce right away, you’ll have a skill set that allows you to build and build your career.”
While acknowledging that the push would be a “huge lift” that would require hiring more staff at community colleges across the state, Youngkin said he believes the state has the “skills” to accomplish it.
“There’s no reason why it can’t be included in our graduation requirements,” he said.
Many states have programs to encourage dual enrollment or partnerships between community colleges and regional high schools, but none have made obtaining an associate degree or professional credentials a graduation requirement for high school students.
Nationally, dual enrollment by high school students accounts for an increasingly large share of the community college enrollment pie; according to data from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, it jumped from 7 percent of community college enrollment in 2007 to 16 percent in 2019.
And as community college enrollment plummeted among student-adults during the pandemic, high school-age students became an important target demographic. Dual enrollment rates rose 11 percent at community colleges this fall, according to a recent report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which helped lead to a slight increase in overall enrollment for the first time since since the beginning of the pandemic.