Early College High Schools

Early College High Schools

Early College High Schools (ECHS) blend high school and college curricula simultaneously to give students the chance to earn up to two years of college credit (60 hours) while they finish high school.  Historically, ECHS facilities were on a college or university campus; but, as the portfolio of ECHS has grown, variations of how the school is designed have developed. Early College High Schools make higher education more accessible and also help students become more comfortable in a higher education environment.


As of 2015-2016, Texas is home to a total of 152 Early College High Schools that include 11 schools with a T-STEM (Texas-Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) designation and four schools with a CTE (Career and Technology Education) focus. More than 30,000 students across the state are served by an ECHS.


  • Create a means to higher education for first-generation college-going students
  • Provide dual credit at no cost to students
  • Course work mimics a college setting, plus students receive intense academic counseling to help them develop skills essential for postsecondary success
  • Increase college attendance and success rates for all students
  • Strengthen the connections between middle schools, high schools, and higher education to promote a statewide college-going culture

Key Elements

  • Early College High Schools class sizes are limited to provide highly personalized attention and to encourage the development of lasting peer and teacher relationships.
  • Early College High School campuses foster a college-going culture where the majority of students are traditionally under-represented or low-performing.
  • A blended high school and college curriculum exposes students to all education disciplines with a special emphasis on science, math, engineering, healthcare, biotechnology and technology.
  • Professional development training for Early College High School teachers focuses on creating an academic culture that enables struggling learners to achieve success in college courses on the accelerated timeline of an early college high school.