The Bard High School Early Colleges (BHSEC) seek to improve public education by offering a diverse group of public school students access to an enriched, challenging liberal arts and sciences college academic environment, thereby closing the gap between high school and college and giving underserved students the opportunity for an excellent college. Students graduate from BHSEC prepared to take upper level college courses, earn a baccalaureate degree, launch successful careers, and contribute to society. BHSEC provides younger scholars with a tuition-free, credit bearing college course of study in the liberal arts and sciences following the 9th and 10th grades. Students are taught by college faculty in seminar classes; they receive up to 60 college credits and an associate in arts (A.A.) degree from Bard College, concurrently with a high school diploma. Bard Early Colleges begin preparing students for college work as early as the 9th grade and offer ongoing guidance and academic supports. BHSEC operates as a partnership between Bard College and the New York City Department of Education and is accredited as a branch campus of Bard College.