State Policies for High School Graduation and Postsecondary Readiness

Overview

SREB Regional Overview and Trends

Since SREB first catalogued various policies in SREB states related to high school completion and postsecondary admission, the region has seen many changes on most of the policies. States have developed and reformed their assessment and accountability systems and made strides aligning high school graduation requirements with college admission requirements. Many have much more to offer in college and career planning now than they did a dozen years ago. 

Overview

College and Career Readiness Definitions

Most SREB states define college and career readiness. Some states have separate definitions for each. While states continue to focus on postsecondary readiness for their students, SREB encourages state development of separate and thorough definitions for both college readiness and career readiness to help guide appropriate goals and policies. (Updated August, 2017)

Overview

College and Career Planning in K-12

To help get students ready for college or a career by the end of high school, many SREB states have implemented college and career planning measures in earlier grades. These include activities such as student success or graduation planning; meeting with advisors, tutors and mentors, and programs aimed at supporting subgroups who traditionally struggle to succeed in high school. (Updated October, 2017)

Overview

High School Graduation Requirements

State requirements for a standard high school diploma vary. These include specific courses students must complete, pathway options for different types of diplomas (where applicable), credit requirements and high school assessments. (Updated August, 2017)

Overview

Accelerated Learning Options in High School

Accelerated learning options often provide students the opportunity to earn postsecondary credit while in high school, decreasing their costs and time in pursuits after they graduate. Options include dual enrollment and dual credit courses, early college, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses and credit by exam. (Updated August, 2017)

Overview

Postsecondary Admission Requirements

Admission policies vary by individual institutions, by institution type and statewide. These include high school course-taking requirements, high school GPA and standardized exam score submissions. In most cases, states set minimum requirements while institutions may set additional standards for acceptance. (Updated August, 2017)

Overview

Postsecondary Placement Policies

Placement policies are set by individual institutions, by institution type and at the state-level. Placement policies determine whether a student can be placed into college credit-bearing courses or needs to be remediated. (Updated November, 2017)

Overview

State Financial Aid for Undergraduates

States provide different types and amounts of aid to undergraduate students for postsecondary education. Financial aid typically falls under three categories – merit-based, need-based and non-grant-based. Merit aid is awarded to high performing students. Need-based aid is usually reserved for low-income students and non-grant aid includes loan and work study programs. Most SREB states allocate more funding to merit-based aid. (Updated August, 2017)

Overview

Postsecondary Feedback to High Schools

Statewide policies govern postsecondary feedback reports to high schools. These contain information such as college enrollment rates and performance of recent graduates. These reports help to influence K-12 education policies and inform schools on whether they are adequately preparing graduates for postsecondary endeavors. (Updated October, 2017)