Partner Login


All partner sites agree to implement Gateway to College based on five essential elements and the associated commitments. The essential elements describe the core aspects of the model and provides the framework and reference points for continuous improvement and innovation.

1. Significant Dual Credit

Gateway to College is a college-based dual credit program that serves eligible students who have dropped out of (or are unlikely to graduate from) high school and who simultaneously earn a high school diploma and substantial college credit.


  • Colleges and public K-12 education agencies work together to develop and regularly review an integrated academic plan that leads to a high school diploma and maximizes opportunities to earn college credit leading to a credential.
  • Gateway programs provide students a full-fledged college-based education that is on-campus, flexible, and includes a summer option. Students are made to feel like college students, because they are college students.
  • Gateway programs select students who have dropped out or are unlikely to graduate, typically as indicated by being behind in credits for their age and/or in lower academic standing (e.g., a high school GPA of 2.0 or lower). Eligible students will be able to achieve a high school diploma within the available time created by the dual credit structure prior to aging out.


2. Sustainable Partnerships

Gateway to College leverages the capacity of school districts, colleges, and other community organizations to create sustainable programs that help meet the local need for dropout recovery.


  • Colleges and public K-12 education agencies create and maintain formal agreements for the governance of Gateway to College programs that are consistent with the GtC essential elements and that clearly articulate each party's financial and operational requirements.
  • Colleges and public K-12 education agencies create Gateway to College programs that are financially sustainable, using public education funding and college infrastructure to support tuition, books, and dedicated staffing for the program.
  • Colleges and public K-12 education agencies work together to create a policy environment that allows each institution to operate within all applicable regulations and provides the flexibility needed for Gateway to College to effectively serve students.


3. Holistic Student Support

Gateway to College provides holistic student support to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of our students in an environment that fosters the development of knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in school and in life.


  • Dedicated student support professionals (Resource Specialists) provide students with intensive support throughout the Gateway experience.
  • Gateway programs develop and implement services and structures to address the needs of the whole student in order to maximize program persistence and completion.
  • Gateway programs utilize available community resource options for whole student support.
  • Gateway faculty and staff utilize strengths-based and solution-focused approaches to student support.
  • Gateway faculty and staff create and foster community among students to increase their academic and social integration into the college environment.


4. Innovative Teaching and Learning

Gateway to College encourages the implementation of innovative pedagogical techniques based on both research and proven practices in effective teaching and learning.


  • Gateway programs place students in a community of learners through a Foundation term that prepares them to succeed in college and become lifelong learners.
  • Gateway faculty and staff use the "Principles of Teaching and Learning" to guide the implementation and continuous improvement of pedagogy.


5. Intentional Collaboration

Gateway to College integrates collaboration, continuous improvement, and professional development, with the goal of improving student success and program sustainability.


  • Gateway faculty and staff work together as highly collaborative teams with the goal of maximizing student success while improving their own practice.
  • Gateway faculty and staff participate in GtCNN-sponsored professional development opportunities.
  • Gateway faculty and staff collaborate with their colleagues at GtC programs across the network.
  • Gateway programs engage in continuous improvement of student outcomes and program sustainability through data driven decision making.
  • Gateway directors drive all collaboration and continuous improvement through robust and direct participation.


Gateway programs provide direct benefits to students, school districts, and colleges


Gateway to College’s core strategy is to replicate and support the Gateway to College programs that operate at 41 colleges in 21 states around the country. Gateway to College brings together communities, school districts and colleges to create programs that reengage disconnected youth, ensuring that they are college and career ready.



College Access

Courses, counseling, and books are provided to students free of charge


Career Development

Students find relevance in education that leads to meaningful employment


Reduce Dependence

Decrease in social service cost to support out-of-school youth

School Districts


Reduce dropout rate

Provide an engaging, supportive pathway for at-risk students



Return previous dropouts to school in a new, transformative setting


Recapture lost funding

Recover per-pupil funding for students previously dropped out



Student Support

Revenue sharing with K-12 partners makes intensive holistic support possible



Students complete their diploma and enter postsecondary with the tools to succeed



Gateway students are college students, and 73% of GtC graduates continue in postsecondary education