Advanced Opportunities allow for students to individualize their high school learning plan and get a jump start on their future. These options include dual credit, technical competency credit, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate programs.
The Fast Forward program can provide funding for students who participate in Advanced Opportunities.
If you are interested in pursuing Advanced Opportunities, you may be overwhelmed with the application process and college-level lingo. Here are some helpful tips to set you up for success:
- Meet with your school guidance counselor
Your school and district will have Advanced Opportunities available locally. By meeting with your counselor, you can learn more about their Career Development plan, as well as course options that are at the high school campus, college campus, or online.
- Develop a four to six year learning plan
Having a preliminary course plan sketched out is critical to effectively take advantage of the possibilities available through Advanced Opportunities. The learning plan should include courses that will be taken for dual credit. This should be a fluid document because long term goals are likely to change. Thoughtful and intentional planning will help ensure that the credits you earn will apply toward the certificate or degree you intend to attain.
- Reach out to Colleges/Universities
Idaho institutions have personnel available to assist you in planning for the transition between high school and college. Reach out to the dual credit offices across the state to learn about the options available for high school students. Do not feel limited to just your local institutions. Many colleges/universities have both online and satellite campuses.
- Create a Fast Forward account
By creating an account, you will be able to track where your funds are, request payment for courses and exams, and view the status of payments. Accounts must be activated by your school before funds are allocated. Check with your local school district to learn more about your local application process for Fast Forward funding.
The Fast Forward program provides every student attending an Idaho public school an allocation of $4,125.00 to use towards Advanced Opportunities in grades 7-12. The program was expanded by the Legislature in 2016 through the passing of House Bill 458. The fund can be used for:
- Overload Courses
An overload course is a high school level course that is taken in excess of the student’s regular school day. These courses are offered online, during the summertime, and after school. In the event that student incurs a cost for such courses, the Fast Forward program can pay up to $225.00 for the cost of the course. Overload courses must be above and beyond the full course load offered by the student’s local school.
- Dual Credits
Dual credit are courses taken by high school students that are transcribed on their high school and college transcripts. The Fast Forward program can pay for up to $75.00 per credit, and in most cases, the cost of these credits is $65.00. Dual Credit courses can also be taken online, by virtual conferencing, or in some cases students can go directly to the college/university campus. More information on specific Idaho colleges and universities can be found in the Links tab.
Student can utilize Fast Forward funds to pay for a variety of college-credit bearing or professional technical exams. These include Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or Career & Technical Education (CTE) exams. A full list of qualifying exams is available in the Resource Files.
Many school districts provide options for students to challenge courses for credit. In most cases, this means that a student would request to challenge a course by taking an exam. If the student meets the level of mastery set by the local school board for a given set of standards, the school can grant the student a high school credit without requiring the student take the course. Contact your local school district for a list of courses eligible for challenge under Advanced Opportunities.
Early Graduation Scholarship
Early Graduation Scholarships are available for students who graduate at least one full year early. These scholarships are equal to 35% of the Average Daily Attendance (ADA) for a given school year. This equates to roughly $1,500.00.
Scholarships can be used at Idaho public post-secondary institutions. The awarded amount will double for students who graduate two years early and will triple for students who graduate three years early. If a student elects not to attend a college or university immediately after high school, they will have up to 28 months to utilize the scholarship before it expires.
As legislated by Senate Bill 1290 in 2016, each public school in Idaho who serves students in grades 8-12 shall establish a college and career advising program for their students. These programs can include advising personnel, near peer/college mentors, students ambassadors, and virtual coaching, among other activities. More information about the various models can be found on the Next Steps website.
Additional training information can be found in the Training tab.
Advanced Opportunities is one of the fastest growing initiatives in school districts around the state. The Advanced Opportunities Support Team offers local and individualized assistance for school and district personnel. This includes assistance with staff training, parent nights, school assemblies, submission portal, and access to network stakeholders. Administrators and advisors who oversee these programs are encouraged to reach out to their regional coordinator for training and inquiries. Regular updates can be found on the Advanced Opportunities Update Blog.
- Advanced Opportunities Brochure | (Spanish Version)
- Advanced Opportunities Legislation
- Approved Exams
- Students Maximizing Advanced Opportunities
How to Sign Up
- Application Instructions for Students | (Video Instructions)
- Certificate of Residency
- Fast Forward Participation Form | (Spanish Version)
Developing a Learning Plan
- General Education Matriculation (GEM) Framework
- Generic Learning Plan | (PDF Format)
- High School Graduation Minimum Requirements | (Spanish Version)
- Sample Learning Plan - 45 Credits
Frequently Asked Questions
Advanced Opportunities Programs
- Certificate of Residency & Community Colleges
- Program Overview
- Recommendations for District Implementation
- Roadshow Video: Advanced Opportunities | (PDF Format)
- Roadshow Video: College and Career Readiness | (PDF Format)
Advanced Opportunities Portal
- County User Manual
- Course Provider User Manual | (Video - College Access)
- District User Manual 2.0 | (Video - District Set Up)
- Quick Guide for Student Registration 2.0 | (Video - Student Registration Process)
- Submission Guide 2.0