Bill Text (PDF)

Washington (September 14, 2023) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) today reintroduced the Jumpstart on College Act, legislation that would expand dual enrollment and early college programs, empowering high school students in their junior and senior years to enroll in college courses and earn credits at little or no cost for them and their families. Dual enrollment and early college programs make higher education more affordable for students, especially first-generation and low-income students, by reducing the number of courses they need to take as a student of a two or four-year higher education institution where they would otherwise have to pay tuition per credit hour. As a result of these programs, students complete their higher education degrees at higher rates.

“Every year, we see college tuition costs skyrocket and more young people suffer under the weight of student debt,” said Senator Markey. “Young people deserve a jumpstart on their higher education. As we fight to bring down the cost of a college degree and lift the burden of student debt off the backs of working families and low-income students, Congress has the opportunity to make investments that will open the doors of higher education to high school juniors and seniors. Our legislation is not just an investment in higher education, but it is also an investment in building a brighter future for hard-working Americans. Education must be for all – not just the wealthy and well-connected. I thank Representative Espaillat for his partnership in making college more affordable and accessible.”

“We know that education changes lives and the path to success in higher education and economic mobility includes the ability to get a head-start on college courses,” said Representative Espaillat. “Dual-enrollment in early college programs are successful and our legislative efforts aim to expand these programs to ensure more youth across the nation, especially from within low-income and underserved communities, will have access and the opportunity to achieve. I am proud to join Senator Markey, once again, to reintroduce the Jumpstart on College Act, to make quality higher education more accessible and affordable for students around the nation.”

A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.                                               

Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Representatives Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), and Eric Swalwell (CA-14) are cosponsors.

Specifically, the Jumpstart on College Act would: 

  1. Invest $250 million each year to establish six-year grants to support dual enrollment and early college high schools that primarily serve low-income students; 
  2. Create a competitive grant program for colleges and universities to partner with local school districts to support the development of these programs; 
  3. Provide financial support to states in order to develop and implement a statewide strategy for increasing access to dual enrollment programs for underrepresented students; and, 
  4. Improve college affordability by ensuring students pay nothing to earn college credit while in high school, including completion of a college degree or other postsecondary credential. 

The Jumpstart on College Act is endorsed by Achieving the Dream, Advance CTE, All4Ed, American Federation of Teachers, American Student Assistance, Association for Career and Technical Education, Bard College, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Capital Region Board of Cooperative Educational Services (Capital Region BOCES), NY, Center for the Future of Arizona, Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL), University of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, Indiana), Chemeketa Community College (Salem, Oregon), Clover Park Technical College (Lakewood, Washington), Colorado Community College System, Community College of Philadelphia, PA (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Complete College America, DeKalb Early College Academy (in the DeKalb County School District) (Stone Mountain, Georgia), Democrats for Education Reform DC, Democrats for Education Reform Massachusetts, EdAdvance (Litchfield, Connecticut), Educate Texas, The Education Trust, Empower Schools, Gallaudet University, Greater Twin Cities United Way, Illinois Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (ILACEP), JFF, Kellogg Community College (Battle Creek, Michigan), Latinos for Education, Learn to Earn Dayton, Massachusetts Alliance for Early College, Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges, Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL), Michigan Early Middle College Association (MEMCA), Middle College National Consortium, Mohawk Valley Community College (Utica, New York), National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP), New Mexico Dual Credit Partnerships (NMDCP), Pittsburgh Technical College, St. Cloud State University, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), SUNY Oswego, University of Maine System, University of New Mexico-Taos (Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico), Vienna HSD 13-3 (Vienna, Illinois) Washtenaw Educational Options Consortium (WEOC) (Washtenaw County, Michigan), and Workforce Career Readiness.

“Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges enthusiastically offer our endorsement of the Jumpstart to College Act,” said Nate Mackinnon, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges. “Early college and dual enrollment initiatives across the Commonwealth are a proven strategy for boosting student success, and we are pleased to support legislation aimed at expanding access and opportunities for these programs.”

In August, Senator Markey led his colleagues in writing to the Department of Education (ED) urging Secretary Miguel Cardona to use the Department’s advisory and investigatory authority to end preferential treatment for donor and legacy admissions. In July, Senator Markey and his colleagues sent letters to the federal loan services requesting support for federal student loan borrowers who will soon resume payments on their student loans. In May, Senator Markey and Representative Katie Porter (CA-47) announced the introduction of the Student Mental Health Rights Act, legislation to require the ED and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to publish guidance for colleges and universities to support students with mental health disabilities and substance use disorder, and to ensure these institutions are meeting existing federal civil rights law. Last November, Senator Markey sent a letter to the ED and the DOJ calling for stronger policies related to involuntary medical leaves of absence to ensure students with disabilities’ access to higher education is protected.