Bard envisions the liberal arts institution as the hub of a network, rather than a single, self-contained campus. Numerous institutes for special study are available on and off campus, connecting Bard students to the greater community.
The Center for Civic Engagement at Bard College embodies the fundamental belief that education and civil society are inextricably linked. In an age of information overload, it is more important than ever that citizens be educated and trained to think critically and be actively engaged with issues affecting public life.
Bard College at Simon’s Rock is the only residential college in the country specifically designed to provide students with the opportunity to begin college immediately after the 10th or 11th grade. Simon’s Rock enrolls approximately 400 full-time students, and awards both A.A. and B.A. degrees. The campus is located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Bard Academy at Simon’s Rock, which launched in 2015, uses the first two years of high school to help students develop the skills they will need to succeed in college. Upon completing the 10th grade, Academy students begin full-time college study at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.
Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) Manhattan, founded in 2001 and serving approximately 550 students, was one of the first public early college high schools in the nation and one of only a few to offer a two-year, college degree–granting liberal arts program embedded within a four-year, tuition-free public high school. A second BHSEC campus opened in Long Island City, Queens, in 2008 (serving approximately 600 students), and a third opened in Newark, New Jersey, in 2011 (serving more than 300 students). In 2014, a fourth campus opened in Cleveland, Ohio, which will serve approximately 450 students from across the Cleveland Metropolitan School District when fully enrolled. BHSEC Baltimore opened its doors in August 2015 as a partnership between Bard and Baltimore City Public Schools; at full enrollment, the school will serve 500 students. Thanks to the success of the first Cleveland campus, a second Bard High School Early College has been approved for the city’s East Side and is scheduled to open in fall 2017.
The BHSEC model has proven extraordinarily effective in positioning young people of all backgrounds to succeed in higher education. In the BHSEC Class of 2016, 88 percent of students earned an A.A. degree alongside a high school diploma, and 95 percent earned a high school diploma and some college credit; approximately 95 percent of graduates are continuing their education at a four-year college or university. To date, well over 90 percent of BHSEC graduates (97 percent in the Classes of 2005–09) have completed their baccalaureate degrees, a significantly higher percentage than the national average of 60 percent. A independent, quasi-experimental study on the flagship campuses in New York City found that BHSEC students completed bachelor’s degrees at a 31 percent higher rate than comparison students who attended traditional public high schools. In Newark, where only 13 percent of the population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher, 74 percent of BHSEC Newark Class of 2016 earned a Bard associate in arts degree alongside their high school diplomas.