Ensuring adequate funding for P-TECH schools is critical to ongoing sustainability. States have identified various ways to fund the model and ensure high-quality replication. Each state must determine the best mechanism for bringing P-TECH to scale within the state.
Public School Funding
The majority of a P-TECH school’s operating expenses is covered by the local school district’s funding.
Many districts fund schools based on a per capita formula. This approach allocates a specific amount per student, with some students, like those with Individual Education Plans, receiving more than others. Different types of district funding, such as federal Title 1 grants for low-income students, are also important sources of support for P-TECH schools. Typically, this funding will cover the majority of the high school staff, including the principal, teachers, guidance counselors and support staff.
At some P-TECH schools, students will remain enrolled in the high school and not officially graduate from the program until they have completed the full six years. This allows the school to generate per capita funding for all students for the full six years of the program.
In the later years, when students spend the majority of their time in college courses, some of the district funding may be used to offset expenses related to college courses.
Learn more about US Dept. of Labor Title 1 grants here.
School districts that develop a P-TECH 9-14 school are ready to rethink
traditional patterns of student enrollment, staffing, curriculum.
Career & Technical Education Funding
Recognizing that schools that aim to prepare students for careers often incur additional expenses, states and local school districts receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education to support Career & Technical Education (CTE) schools through the Carl D. Perkins Act. Read more about the Perkins Act here.
State departments of education typically determine the method for distributing Perkins funding, as well as other state funding to support career prep programs. However, most CTE schools receive a supplement to their base per capita budget. This supplement should cover expenses related to the CTE program, including the Workplace Learning Coordinator, the internship coordinator, and equipment related to the chosen career area.
College Course Funding
P-TECH schools must also cover costs related to college courses — primarily tuition, instruction, and textbooks. Each local partnership must work together to identify sources of funding for these costs. Some states offer funding for “dual enrollment” programs.
These funds are typically provided to the colleges that offer credit-bearing courses to high school students, and may be a good option for P-TECH funding in those states.
In other states and districts, the college may waive or reduce the cost of college courses. In other situations, local charities may provide funding.
These expenses include items such as:
- College instructors
- College textbooks
- Collaboration between high school and college faculty
- The College Liaison position
The two systems have created policies that aim to reduce the total expenses related to college credit courses.
For any section of a college course that primarily includes high school students (i.e., a cohort course), the program only covers the cost of the course instructor rather than the full tuition for each student.
For a three credit course taught in a single semester to a section of high school students, for example, the cost of the instructor is likely to be $3,500-$6,000, based on CUNY’s salary scale for adjunct instructors.
In some instances, a high school teacher may be approved to teach a college-level course as part of his/her regular teaching load. In those cases, the incremental cost of instruction is essentially zero. This is because teachers cannot be paid from two sources for a single course. Note that this scenario is dependent upon the teacher meeting all the criteria that the college department has established for its instructors.
Toward the end of the program, students will move into typical college courses, integrated in with other college students. In those cases, the program must cover the full cost of tuition for the student.