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Topics / Student Success

Pilot Program by Top Colleges Offers Free Online Courses for College Credit to Underserved Students

Carnegie Corporation of New York and partners team up to help disadvantaged high school students and students of color begin path to college


Carnegie Corporation of New York, along with National Education Equity Lab and Common App, have teamed up to support a pilot program by top colleges that provides online courses for college credit at no cost for low-income high school students and students of color.

The pilot began in late September in more than 60 underserved high schools throughout the country, in 14 cities, with nearly 1,000 students enrolled. Students who successfully complete the college courses will earn highly transferable college credits, helping their college journey to be more accessible, affordable, and successful. The model aims to reach 10,000 students by its third year.

Each participating college or university has committed to providing at least one online college credit-bearing course to students in their high school classrooms (virtually or in school) for the 2020–21 school year. Participating institutions are Cornell University, Howard University, Yale University, the University of Connecticut, and Arizona State University with Harvard University providing the initial pilot course last fall.

“America’s high school students — especially those long underserved by our education system — are facing an uncertain future,” says LaVerne Srinivasan, vice president of the Corporation’s National Program and program director of education. “This program will enable vulnerable young people to continue pursuing their dreams amid unprecedented disruption while creating a foundation to transform their life prospects in profound and lasting ways.” 



Top: A high school senior follows a remote Advanced Placement (AP) calculus class while sitting in a community garden near her home on August 14, 2020. (Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)