Blueprint for College Readiness

Meeting the workforce needs of businesses requires that a greater number of Americans obtain a postsecondary degree or certification. To help achieve this goal, policy approaches must be designed to increase the number of U.S. students who earn a postsecondary degree or certification.

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.  The Blueprint project serves as a framework to help 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.

The accompanying resources, technical assistance and online databases are designed to respond to the unique needs of states.

State Education Governance Structures: 2017 Update
This 50-State Review provides an overview of governance structures in the states, as well as implications for practice, deep dives into four governance models and examples of other governance models.

50-State Comparison: Statewide Admissions Policies
Education Commission of the States researched statewide admissions policies in all states to provide this comprehensive resource. Users were presented with 50-state comparisons showing how all states approach specific statewide admissions policies. Or, users could choose to view a specific state’s approach by accessing individual state profile pages.


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 policy 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.

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 education policy analysis reviews key components of a comprehensive state AP policy and model state policies that align with each component. This report is accompanied by a 50-State Comparison.


Aligning K-12 and Postsecondary Career Pathways with Workforce Needs
This report provides a first look at state policymaking activity in 13 states. Policy activity summarized here establishes a process for educators and employers to convene and use workforce data to set priorities, and sets forth strategies to enhance and scale up career pathways bridging K-12 and postsecondary, designed to prepare students for high-skill, high-demand jobs.

Reverse Transfer: What is the best route to take?
This brief presents early outcomes data for the 10 states that have implemented statewide policies around reverse transfer and offers recommendations for leadership informed by outcomes.

Dual Admissions for Transfer Students
This report offers information on how dual admissions enables a community college student who plans to complete a baccalaureate degree to be simultaneously admitted to a four-year college while earning an associate degree.

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

Transfer Student Policy Workshop – Education Commission of the States facilitated a Transfer Student Policy Workshop that brought together representatives from Washington and Oregon to assist participants to develop and implement policies that maximize credit applicability for student who transfer from two-year colleges to four-year universities.

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.

Information Requests

Education Commission of the States provides state leaders with trusted, unbiased answers to pressing education policy questions. Recent state information requests include:

Technical Assistance

Transfer – 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.