The commissioner shall establish and administer an early college education program for students who are at risk of dropping out of school or who wish to accelerate completion of the high school program. For purposes of this subsection, “student at risk of dropping out of school” has the meaning assigned by Section 29.081 (Compensatory, Intensive, and Accelerated Instruction).
The program must:
provide for a course of study that enables a participating student to combine high school courses and college-level courses during grade levels 9 through 12;
allow a participating student to complete high school and, on or before the fifth anniversary of the date of the student’s first day of high school, receive a high school diploma and either:
an associate degree; or
at least 60 semester credit hours toward a baccalaureate degree;
include articulation agreements with colleges, universities, and technical schools in this state to provide a participating student access to postsecondary educational and training opportunities at a college, university, or technical school; and
provide a participating student flexibility in class scheduling and academic mentoring.
Each articulation agreement under Subsection (b)(3) must address:
the instructional calendar;
courses of study;
eligibility of students for higher education financial assistance;
The P-16 Council established under Section 61.076 shall provide guidance in case of any conflict that arises between parties to an articulation agreement under Subsection (b)(3).
A student participating in the program is entitled to the benefits of the Foundation School Program in proportion to the amount of time spent by the student on high school courses, in accordance with rules adopted by the commissioner, while completing the course of study established by the applicable articulation agreement under Subsection (b)(3).
The commissioner may accept gifts, grants, and donations from any source, including private and nonprofit organizations. Private and nonprofit organizations that contribute to the fund shall receive an award under Section 7.113 (Employers for Education Excellence Award).
The commissioner shall collaborate with the Texas Workforce Commission and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop and implement a strategic plan to enhance private industry participation under this section. The plan must include:
strategies to increase private industry participation; and
incentives for businesses and nonprofit organizations that choose to make donations and work with high schools that participate in a program under this section to maximize job placement opportunities for program graduates.
Not later than December 1, 2014, the commissioner shall provide a report that summarizes the strategic plan developed under Subsection (e) to the lieutenant governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, the governor, the Texas Workforce Commission, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The Texas Education Agency, the Texas Workforce Commission, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board shall each make the report available on the respective agency’s Internet website.
The commissioner may adopt rules as necessary to administer the program. The rules may provide for giving preference in receiving program benefits to a student who is in the first generation of the student’s family to attend college and may establish other distinctions or criteria based on student need. The commissioner shall consult the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in administering the program. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board may adopt rules as necessary to exercise its powers and duties under this section. The P-16 Council may make recommendations, including recommendations for rules, concerning administration of the program.Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1201, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.Amended by:Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 879 (S.B. 1146), Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2005.Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 921 (H.B. 3167), Sec. 4.006, eff. September 1, 2007.Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1220 (S.B. 1557), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.