Equitable Access

Design Principle 1/6

Preliminary criteria

  1.  The program is designed and funded such that it will be offered free for all student participants—including tuition, fees, and other related expenses.
  2. Should student applications exceed program’s capacity, participation should be determined by a lottery among applicants, or by another method intended to ensure equitable access to the program.
  3. Initial enrollment in an ECHS should be made without regard to past academic performance.
  4. The program will present an effective plan for outreach and recruitment of students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education, including students of color, low income students, English language learners and students with disabilities. The program leverages the work of existing college access programming to identify students who would benefit from the program. Programs are encouraged to utilize the postsecondary Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS) to identify and target eligible students.
  5. Program design aims to reflect an admissions and placement policy that ensures that the highest number of first-generation and other underrepresented students are able to participate successfully in ECHS  programming.
  6. Data are presented about the current number and percent of students in the high school or district that are low-income, students of color, and/or first generation who would be targeted for inclusion.



Models and Examples


Final Designation Criteria

The applicant shall continue to meet all criteria requisite for Preliminary Designation. In addition, the applicant must demonstrate:

  1. Long-term program design that reflects a reasonable plan to target enrollment of significant scale relative to school/school district size.
  2. Program design that reflects thoughtfulness and opportunity with regard to student entry and exit points in the program. A program will demonstrate a clear pathway for students, but will also be designed to allow for more than one entry point for students. Program design will also be structured such that should a student need to exit the program, the student will be able to seamlessly transition out of the program and back into the traditional or a different high school program.
  3. The applicant will also submit the following:
    1. Longitudinal data showing at least five years of student enrollment trends.
    2. Needs assessment demonstrating potential district need for such a program in the district or region. Such a needs assessment could include high school graduation rates, postsecondary entry/persistence/completion rates, skills gaps within the regional labor force, economic trends, community support, etc.
    3. Written recruitment plan, including a timeline of recruitment and enrollment events, and recruitment materials for distribution at feeder schools and other appropriate locations in the community (e.g., recruitment schedule).
    4. Written communication plan for targeting identified audiences, parents, community members, school board, higher education personnel, business and industry partners, etc.
    5. Materials used for outreach and recruitment, including but not limited to, brochures and marketing in English as well as Spanish and/or relevant second language(s).
    6. Written admission policy, including a potential lottery process and any program enrollment requirements.
    7. Calendar of family/parent outreach events and other opportunities to educate students, counselors, principals, parents, the school board, business and industry partners, and community members on the ECHS program.

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