New legislation U.S. Sen. Gary Peters is co-sponsoring would open up federal grant dollars to universities and colleges to develop concurrent dual enrollment programs with high schools.
Proponents of the The Making Education Affordable and Accessible Act (MEAA) say that adding additional concurrent dual enrollment programs would both reduce student debt and increase college graduation rates for students.
“When I went to school with some help from my parents, scholarships and working part time to pay the rest of the bill, I graduated without any debt,” Peters said. “Today if you do all three of those things, you’re still going to have have debt. The opportunity to get those credits early is absolutely critical for students to be able to pursue their dream of higher education.”
Peters partnered with Republican Senator Bill Cassidy (La.) and Congressmen Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) on the legislation.
Unlike traditional dual enrollment classes, concurrent programs allow students to earn credits for both high school and college via courses taught by qualified teachers at the high school, Peters said.
The grant dollars would be used to build the curricula and train educators to develop the programs. Peters expects that students could earn up to 30 college credits prior to graduating high school through the program.
In addition to the bipartisan bill introduced today, Peters also co-sponsored two additional pieces of legislation. The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would reduce the interest rate on private student loans and allow students who have already graduated to refinance with lower rates.
The other bill, the Fair Student Credit Act, would allow students who have defaulted on their student loans to remove that designation from their credit report after a specified repayment period.
Editors Note: This story has been updated to reflect the status of other legislation introduced by Sen. Peters.