What is an Early College High School Program?

Early College High Schools (ECHS) blend high school and college curricula simultaneously to give students the opportunity 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.

Impact Snapshot

  • ECHS Students are projected to earn $250,000 more over their lifetime than Texas high school students.
  • 15K ECHS Students who have already graduated will earn an additional $4.6 Billion.


  • Engage first-generation college-going students to higher education.
  • Provide dual credit at no cost to students.
  • Offer course work that mirrors a college setting, plus students receive intense academic counseling to help them develop skills essential for postsecondary success.
  • Increase college enrollment and success rates for all students.
  • Strengthen the connections between middle schools, high schools, and higher education to promote a college-going culture.

Key Elements

  • Early College High Schools class sizes provide highly personalized attention and 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 T-STEM Early College high school 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.