While the United States is home to some of the world’s most renowned institutions of higher education, many of its public high schools—often just neighborhoods away—have failed to adequately motivate students and prepare them for college. In addition, while college education is increasingly correlated with greater employment opportunities and earnings, and lack of college preparation and completion grows more expensive for taxpayers, the costs of higher education have become prohibitive for many students.
In an effort to address these severe national problems, Bard College has pioneered efforts to extend the academic resources of liberal arts colleges into public high schools through the creation of early colleges. In four years, Bard Early College students earn up to two years of college credit and an associate of arts degree as well as a high school diploma, tuition free. The first Bard High School Early College opened in New York City in 2001; since that time, Bard’s network of early colleges has grown to four campuses, which have seen remarkable results in some of the country’s most challenging school districts.
The Initiative's Mission
Bard's national early college initiative: Campaign for the Liberal Arts in High School is premised on the belief that intellectually curious high school students, regardless of background, are ready and eager to do serious college work while in high school, and that a liberal arts college education can effectively engage students and help them excel. The campaign aims to increase access to transformative opportunities in the liberal arts for students in high-needs public school districts nationwide. The campaign works to promote and expand Bard’s early college model and to advocate for policies that support early colleges and other secondary-postsecondary partnerships.