Definitions and Terms

CCEMC Working Definitions

Early and Middle College High School FAQs



Early and middle college high schools are small schools designed so that students can earn both a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree or up to two years of credit toward a Bachelor’s degree. Early college high schools have the potential to improve high school graduation rates and better prepare all students for high-skill careers by engaging them in a rigorous, college preparatory curriculum and compressing the number of years to a college degree (Jobs for the Future)

The Difference Between Middle College and Early College
As the years have progressed, CCEMC believes the difference between middle and early college high schools have diminished. Currently, the two titles are almost interchangeable and both middle and early college high schools have the same goal of all students’ high school graduation college and career ready by accumulating substantial college units concurrently with high school graduation credits.

Middle College High Schools are secondary schools, authorized to grant diplomas in their own name, located on college campuses across the nation. The Middle Colleges are small, with usually 100 or fewer students per grade level and they provide a rigorous academic curriculum within a supportive and nurturing environment to a student population that has been historically under-served and underrepresented in colleges. While at the Middle College, students have the opportunity to take some college classes at no cost to themselves.

Early College High Schools are schools with all the characteristics of Middle Colleges – location on a college campus, strong academic program, supportive environment – and are designed to serve the same target population. Early Colleges also have a defined and structured program that enables the high school students to earn both their high school diplomas and their Associates Degree in 4 to 5 years with no cost to the student (Middle College National Consortium).

California Ed Code for Early and Middle Colleges


Middle College High School

11300.  (a) The Legislature finds and declares that middle college high schools have proven to be a highly effective collaborative effort between local school districts and community colleges. The goal of the middle college high school is to select at-risk high school students who are performing below their academic potential and place them in an alternative high school located on a community college campus in order to reduce the likelihood that they will drop out of school before graduation.


Early College High School

11302.  The Legislature finds and declares that early college highschools are innovative partnerships between charter or noncharterpublic secondary schools and a local community college, theCalifornia State University, or the University of California thatallow pupils to earn a high school diploma and up to two years ofcollege credit in four years or less. Early college high schools aresmall, autonomous schools that blend high school and college into acoherent educational program. In early college high schools, pupilsbegin taking college courses as soon as they demonstrate readinessand the college credit earned may be applied toward completing anassociate or bachelor’s degree, transfer to a four-year university,or obtaining a skills certificate.




Credit, Enrollment, Admissions, Funding, and PE:

  • 76001 (c) College Credit
  • 76001 (d) 11 unit cap
  • 76001 (e) (2) Special Part-Time Admit
  • 76002 Funding
  • 76002 (a) (4) Physical Education restrictions
  • 76004 College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP)
  • 76140 (4) Community college tuition fees nonimmigrant special part-time student (Will become law January 1, 2017)




  • 76300 (f) enrollment fee waiver



  • 48800 (d) (2, 3, & 4) Summer School
    Note: (e) Paragraphs (3), (4), and (5) of subdivision (d) shall become inoperative on January 1, 2014



  • 46146.5 Minutes of Instruction