Championing Accelerated Pathways at the State House: Highlights from 2024 Legislative Sessions

Thursday, June 20, 2024
Dylan Jacovo
Senior Associate

2024 has brought some good news—and real momentum—for accelerated pathways programs at state houses across the country. 

Since 2022, Education Strategy Group has led the Accelerate ED network, a multi-year initiative to increase the availability of accelerated pathway opportunities that create economic mobility for high school students by starting them on a path to an associate degree in a high-demand career. This work has helped us to identify a core set of foundational enabling conditions in policy, funding, and data necessary for pathways initiatives to reach students at scale. 

Many of these conditions are impacted by state legislation, which can create the right environment for accelerated pathways to grow and thrive—particularly for students of color and students experiencing poverty. As this year’s legislative session winds down, state legislatures have enacted several new bills that will support expanded access to the components of accelerated pathways.

Six recently enacted pieces of legislation illustrate a range of policies with potential to enhance local communities’ ability to implement accelerated pathways at scale, including:

  • Alignment and expansion of youth apprenticeship and career and technical education (CTE) programs in high demand fields (Colorado SB 24-104)
  • A new diploma option for students pursuing accelerated career pathways (Georgia SB 440)
  • Reducing dual enrollment costs to students and families by lifting lifetime scholarship eligibility limits (Colorado HB 1305), increased state funding (Idaho SB 1359), and eliminating tuition and fees with new state funding (Virginia SB 627) 
  • Expansion of P-TECH schools to additional subject areas (Colorado HB 1305)
  • A requirement that every public high school (IN) or district (VA) offer 1 year’s worth of general education college coursework (Indiana S 8 and Virginia SB 627)

Read on for additional details about these legislative developments. 


SB 24-104 requires the state apprenticeship agency to coordinate with the career and technical education division of the Colorado community college system to align the high school career and technical education system and the registered apprenticeship system for programs and occupations related to infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, education, or health care. Additionally, before July 1, 2026, the bill also requires that both entities expand the number of aligned pathways, while prioritizing programs and occupations identified as top jobs by the annual Colorado talent pipeline report.

HB 1305 expands the types of programs that Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECHs) may focus on beyond science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It also ensures that the college-level credit hours earned while students are enrolled in a concurrent enrollment program, the Accelerating Students Through Concurrent Enrollment Program (ASCENT), the Teacher Recruitment Education and Preparation Program, or a P-TECH school do not count toward the existing stipend lifetime limit of 145 credit hours.


SB 440 created the Accelerated Career Diploma Program, which seeks to expedite high school students’ transition into technical career fields. In tandem with the program, this bill also created accelerated career education (ACE) grants to aid students pursuing technical education and allows school boards to award high school diplomas to students who complete rigorous postsecondary coursework, so long as they also fulfill certain high school curriculum requirements.


SB 1359 increased the amount of funding available to students through the Advanced Opportunities program by $500 (to $4,625 per student). The unique program provides students with state funds that can be used to complete early college coursework and industry specific learning experiences, inclusive of dual credit courses, postsecondary credit-bearing examinations, career and technical certificate examinations, career and technical education workforce training courses, college entrance examinations, preliminary college entrance examinations, and apprenticeship programs.


S 8 requires each high school to offer the Indiana College Core, Indiana’s block of 30 credit hours of general education, college-level coursework that must be transferable to every public postsecondary institution in the state. It also ensures that any student who successfully completes an eligible course under the college core is entitled to secondary credit toward their high school graduation requirements and their transcripts must reflect the secondary credit earned. A reverse transfer program for community college associate degrees was also created.


SB 627 established the College and Career Ready Virginia Fund and requires the Department of Education and the Virginia Community College System to establish the College and Career Ready Virginia Program, whereby each school board is required to offer each qualified high school student in the local school division access at the high school to all dual enrollment courses that are sufficient to complete the Passport Program (15 credit hours) and the Uniform Certificate of General Studies Program (30 credit hours) at a public institution of higher education at no cost to such students.

If you’re interested in learning more about support for accelerated pathways efforts, reach out to Adam Lowe at