Funding Early College High School: Hold Harmless or Shared Commitment


  • Jack Leonard University of Massachusetts Boston



advanced placement programs, college readiness, dual enrollment, financial policy, learner engagement, Massachusetts, parent financial contribution, philanthropic foundations, private financial support, school support, state aid


Early college high schools are a promising but expensive pathway to college readiness. Most such schools are supported with state funds and/or grants. This descriptive case study presents an early college program, now in its fourth year in a traditional high school, in which the families, high school and community college shared the entire cost. Data from document analysis and interviews with administrators, parents and students clarified the funding plan and participant reactions. Joint ownership increased parental engagement, student academic commitment and administrator attention. The results suggest that learning to cope with the cost of college, which this program necessitated, is an important aspect of college readiness for both students and parents. The model of shared responsibility is contrasted with the “hold harmless” model of government/foundation support that relieves schools and families of the cost of early college programming. The findings and policy recommendations are applicable to LEA and SEA leaders, philanthropies and scholars in educational financial policy.


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Author Biography

Jack Leonard, University of Massachusetts Boston

Jack Leonard is an assistant professor in the Leadership in Urban Schools program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and director of graduate programs in Educational Administration and Teacher Leadership. Prior to joining the faculty in 2008, Leonard was a high school teacher and then principal for an award-winning Boston public school. He teaches courses on leadership, personnel supervision/evaluation, research design, and the history of urban education. He practices the scholarship of engagement with a research focus on entrepreneurial leadership in K-12 schooling, teacher leadership, and school-community partnerships.




How to Cite

Leonard, J. (2013). Funding Early College High School: Hold Harmless or Shared Commitment. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 21, 46.