After years of legislative effort, Assembly Majority Leader Chris Holden’s legislation to increase college opportunity for thousands of California high school students will go into effect January 1.
Governor Brown recently signed Holden’s AB 288 College and Career Access Pathways Act to allow high school students, especially those in underserved communities, greater access to college courses and career tech classes at both high school and college campuses.
“We need to expand opportunities for a broad range of students or lose our competitive edge with other states and other nations,” explained Assemblymember Holden. “Concurrent enrollment can motivate students who aren’t on the college track and provide opportunities for students who want to get started in their careers earlier by working towards a degree or certificate in career technical education. Even those who’ve struggled in high school classes can rise to the challenge, motivated by the chance to try on the role of a college student.”
AB 288 creates a partnership between high schools and community colleges to remove barriers that historically kept underserved students from enrolling in concurrent enrollment programs. It will accelerate the number of credits students can take from 11 to 15 and give students limited priority in enrollment. It will also allow better access to career tech courses that may not be available at the high school level.
“This bill is an example of how K-12 and higher education institutions can work together on a local level to solve persistent problems—in this case, how to create better pathways to college and career,” stated the Governor in his signing message.
The measure was sponsored by California Community College Chancellor Brice W. Harris: “These partnerships will help high school students achieve college and career readiness and avoid remedial coursework when they begin their college careers,” Harris said. “This is critical because students who arrive at community colleges academically prepared and with some college credits already under their belt have a greater chance of achieving their goals.”
“AB 288 will help ignite a sense of purpose and drive in high school students that is essential in today’s fast-paced world, and ensure that they are better qualified for college and for the jobs of our state’s ever-changing economy,” said Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen, of Modesto, who jointly authored the bill. “I applaud the stakeholders involved in the development of this important bill, and thank the Governor for signing it into law.”