Blueprint for College Readiness

To meet future workforce needs, state policy approaches must support increasing the number of U.S. students earning a postsecondary degree or certificate.

About this Project

Education Commission of the States launched the Blueprint for College Readiness initiative to provide guidance and support to the growing number of states working to improve student success and transition from high school into postsecondary.  Serving as a framework, the Blueprint project helps K-12 and higher education leaders conceptualize the multitude of education reform efforts underway in their states. It’s based on the premise that K-12 and postsecondary collaboration is essential to building an aligned education pipeline and improving student outcomes.


The framework unites two driving forces in state and federal policymaking:

  1. Improving the college and career readiness of graduating high school students.
  2. Decreasing remedial education and improving the rate of students who earn a degree or credential.

Click on the Research, Report, Convene and Counsel tabs below to view resources responding to the unique needs of states.

Education Commission of the States researches key education issues and provides comprehensive research on how all states approach policies. Access the following 50-State Comparisons and learn more about high school and postsecondary policy approaches.

State Education Governance Structures: 2017 Update
Understanding the distribution of authority in state education governance models may prove insightful to understanding how education issues are prioritized and resolved in each state.

2017 Reports

Advanced Placement Access and Success: How do rural schools stack up?
This joint report from the College Board and Education Commission of the States explores Advanced Placement in rural, suburban and urban schools and looks at data on student access, participation and performance across urbanicities.

Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems: Policy Snapshot of recent legislative activity
This Policy Snapshot defines and explores statewide longitudinal data systems, as well as relevant 2016 and 2017 legislation.

Examining SLDS Development and Utility
This report explores statewide longitudinal data systems, including benefits and obstacles of connecting education data, and provides a comprehensive look at data systems in three states through detailed case studies.


2016 Reports

Early College High Schools: Model policy components
This Policy Analysis defines early college high schools, clarifies how they differ from traditional dual enrollment programs, provides an overview of the structure and impact of early college high schools and outlines key model policy components.

Faculty Qualification Policies and Strategies Relevant to Dual Enrollment Programs: An analysis of states and regional accreditation agencies
This report, released by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and co-authored by Education Commission of the States, reviews how states across the country address the quality of dual enrollment courses though policies regarding teacher qualifications.

State Policy Leadership for the Future: History of state coordination and governance and alternatives for the future
This report from Education Commission of the States and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems highlights how states have revisited their governance arrangements in response to changing conditions and expectations.

Advanced Placement: Model policy components
This Policy Analysis reviews key components of a comprehensive state AP policy and model state policies that align with each component.


Education Commission of the States brings education leaders together within their states and across states to interact, learn and collaborate. Recent examples related to the Blueprint project include:

Supporting Adult Learners for Postsecondary Success: Education Commission of the States convened states, peer organizations and thought leaders to discuss the unique needs of adult learners in postsecondary education.

Dual Enrollment Policy Academy: In conjunction with the Winter Commissioners Meeting in Denver, Education Commission of the States invited representatives from several states to learn more about the model policy components for increasing student participation and success in dual enrollment programs.

Transfer Student Policy Workshop: The workshop brought together representatives from Washington and Oregon to provide knowledge and best practices for developing and implementing policies that maximize credit applicability for students who transfer from two-year colleges to four-year universities.


Education Commission of the States provides unbiased, expert counsel on education policy issues across the full P-20 spectrum. Examples related to the Blueprint project include:

State Information Requests
State leaders often reach out to Education Commission of the States for trusted answers to pressing education policy questions, including:


Technical Assistance
Education Commission of the States provides comprehensive support to states throughout the policymaking process, including:

Transfer in Pennsylvania: In an effort to assist Pennsylvania in the progression of existing statewide transfer policies, Education Commission of the States co-facilitated a meeting with the Pennsylvania Department of Education Transfer and Articulation Oversight Committee. The meeting included information on Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s new/revised Board of Governors’ Student Transfer Policy, an overview of Pennsylvania’s two statewide transfer policies and work-group discussions regarding those transfer policies. Click here to see the final analysis.

Dual Enrollment in Nevada: Interest in enhancing dual enrollment policy was spurred by Nevada’s participation in the December 2015 Dual Enrollment Policy Academy. Following the Policy Academy, Gov. Sandoval’s office sponsored S.B. 19 aiming to align some components of Nevada’s dual enrollment policy with the Dual Enrollment Model Policy Components. In 2016, Education Commission of the States provided extensive information to the governor’s staff as they worked to develop legislative language. In January 2017, Education Commission of the States participated in a pre-session meeting with other high-level stakeholders to inform them of, and gain consensus around, how the proposed legislation would bring Nevada legislation into closer alignment with the model policy components. Education Commission of the States also testified as a neutral party in the Senate and Assembly hearings on the bill. The legislation passed and was signed by Gov. Sandoval in May 2017.