Impacting Education in America

Bard demonstrates a commitment to innovation, a preparedness to invest in new ideas, and an abiding belief in the transformative power of education.

Bard is redefining the availability , affordability, and expectations of higher education in America by bringing high-quality, full-scholarship, liberal arts education to young people and to communities often excluded from the American dream of a college degree.

Bard Early Colleges

The Bard Early College model is transforming education by creating accessible programs where younger scholars are taken seriously. Bard has led the Early College movement since partnering with Simon’s Rock, the nation’s first early college, in 1979. Today Bard operates a growing network of public early colleges—accredited Bard campuses located in public school systems—that allow students to earn up to 60 transferable college credits and an Associate’s degree, tuition-free, alongside a high school diploma. By providing high school-age students with a free, high-quality liberal arts education, the Bard Early College model re-examines the possibilities for college accessibility and affordability.

Bard Center for Early College

The Bard Center for Early College (CEC) works to define and promote an educational model in which younger students can access higher education in a challenging, supportive, and affordable environment.

Bard Prison Initiative

Since 2001, the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) has created groundbreaking opportunities for college within America’s prison systems. These programs transform the negative impacts of criminal punishment and create radical inroads of access and opportunity to higher learning.


Building on the values and 15-year success of the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), Bard Microcolleges bring full scholarship, high quality, liberal arts education to communities most often isolated from the university experience. The strengths of the Microcolleges rest in alliances between institutions that are conventionally separate from one another but have overlapping missions, common purpose, and shared core values. These alliances dramatically reduce the cost of college.

The Clemente Course in the Humanities

The Clemente Course in the Humanities provides free, accredited college courses in the humanities to economically and educationally disadvantaged individuals. Students who complete the Clemente Course receive six college credits from Bard which are transferrable to other colleges and universities.