Legislation would expand access to college credits
Today, U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced legislation to expand access to programs that allow students to earn college credits while in high school.
Earning credits through accelerated learning programs like Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, dual enrollment programs, postsecondary enrollment options, and early college high schools can cut the cost of college by helping students earn degrees in less time, Franken said.
At a time when students are graduating with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, access to accelerated learning programs can help students save a significant amount of money in college costs, he added. The College Board estimates that federal funding for the AP Test Fee and Incentive Program produces a potential $201 million in college cost savings.
"The average Minnesotan graduates college with over $29,000 in debt--among the highest in the country--and it's my responsibility to help do what I can to lower their debt burden," said Franken. "That's why I've introduced new legislation to expand access to programs that allow students to earn college credits while in high school, which can cut the cost of college by helping students earn degrees faster."
The Accelerated Learning Act of 2013, introduced by Franken and cosponsored by Senator Tom Udall (D-N. Mex.), would reauthorize the existing federal funding stream to provide competitive grants to help states cover the costs of offering AP and IB exam fees for low-income students and improve access to AP, IB, dual enrollment, postsecondary enrollment options, and early college high school programs for low-income students. For example, Sen. Franken recently visited with school leaders and students at Irondale High School in the Mounds View School District to learn about their nationally-recognized early college program, which enables students to earn an associate's degree for free while in high school.