Peters Visits Huron Area Technical Center in Bad Axe to Highlight Bipartisan Legislation to Make College More Affordable & Accessible

BAD AXE, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today toured the Huron Area Technical Center (HATC) in Bad Axe and highlighted bipartisan, bicameral legislation he introduced to expand options for high school students to obtain college credit, making higher education more affordable and accessible while improving high school and college graduation rates. Peters’ Making Education Affordable and Accessible Act (MEAA) would expand access to dual and concurrent enrollment programs and early/middle college programs by providing grants to institutions of higher education. Peters was joined today by Clark Brock, Principal of the HATC, and Joseph Murphy, Superintendent of the Huron Intermediate School District.

“The increasing cost of higher education should not be a barrier that prevents students from pursuing their careers,” said Senator Peters. “Programs like those offered at the Huron Area Technical Center are giving students a head start at earning college credits while equipping students with tools needed to become the next generation of leaders in a global economy.”

“We were pleased to welcome Senator Peters to Huron County and we appreciate his efforts to expand dual enrollment programs and curriculums,” said Clark Brock, Principal of the Huron Area Technical Center. “Dual enrollment programs are an opportunity for high school students to afford a higher education while earning career development skills, and we thank Senator Peters for visiting HATC.”

MEAA, which Peters introduced with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Congressmen Jared Polis (D-CO) and Tom Reed (R-NY), provides grants to institutions of higher education that can be used to:

  • Carry out dual and concurrent enrollment programs as well as early/middle college programming – this includes covering tuition and fees, books, and required instructional materials for a program so that students will not be required to pay tuition or fees for postsecondary courses;
  • Provide teachers in these programs with professional development; and
  • Support activities such as course design, course approval processes, community outreach, student counseling and support services.

The Huron Intermediate School District and HATC provides a wide variety of career technical education (CTE) programs for students and residents of Huron County, including automotive technology and mechanical, architectural, engineering and design technology programs where students can earn dual enrollment credits. Additionally, nearly 70 students are dual enrolled in non-CTE general education classes, where students can earn up to 9-11 college credits per semester. These credits are through a partnership with Mid Michigan Community College.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) early college students on average earn 36 college credits, and 30% of early college students earn an associate’s degree. There are 23 early/middle college high schools and 67 early/middle college programs in Michigan alone. The National Alliance on Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships estimates 1.9 million high school students enrolled in a college course during the 2014-2015 school year.

Last year, Peters introduced an amendment with U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) to the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act, which was signed into law in December. The amendment allows Title I funds to be used to support concurrent and dual enrollment programs at eligible schools, enabling high school students to simultaneously receive college-credit from courses taught by college approved teachers in secondary education. It also allows school districts to use fifth-year program partnerships to allow students to participate in concurrent enrollment in the year after their senior year.