Early College High Schools

Tuition-free college credit with support for college readiness

By blending high school and college coursework, Early College High Schools (ECHS) give students the opportunity to earn up to two years of college credit (60 hours), tuition-free, while earning a high school diploma. ECHS design and delivery are structured to meet the needs of individual students and schools. The ECHS model has increased college readiness across Texas, providing rigorous instruction and coursework as well as academic and social support.

As the technical assistance provider for Texas Education Agency (TEA)-designated ECHS campuses, Educate Texas provides coaching, professional development, and networking and implementation tools designed to improve students’ academic performance. 

Objectives of ECHS

  • Engage first-generation college attendees

  • Provide dual credit at no cost to students

  • Offer courses that mirror a college setting, with academic counseling to help students develop the skills needed for post-high school success

  • Increase college enrollment and success rates for all students

  • Strengthen connections between middle schools, high schools and higher education institutions to promote a culture of college readiness

The ECHS Blueprint

The TEA developed a roadmap of benchmarks and program requirements that are essential to the model’s success. Each benchmark is a consideration for designation as an ECHS campus, and must be included as part of the application. These benchmarks include:

  • Target population
  • Partnership agreement
  • P-16 leadership initiatives
  • Curriculum and support
  • Academic rigor and readiness
  • School design

Early College High Schools provide students with highly personalized attention and encourage lasting relationships with teachers and classmates. The experience creates a college-like culture that encourages students to continue their higher education journey.

Click here to learn more about ECHS on texasccrm.org.