Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to receive both high school and college credit for taking a college-level course. A 2007 study from the Community College Research Center (CCRC) concluded that dual enrollment programs have a positive effect on high school graduation rates, college enrollment rates, college grades, and progress toward obtaining a college degree. This article examines dual enrollment programs and the benefits they afford.
The number of dual admission programs has increased significantly over the past few years. According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 1.2 million students participated in dual enrollment programs during the 2002-03 academic year. Approximately 71 percent of public high schools offered dual enrollment programs.
More than half of all colleges and universities allowed high school students to take classes for college credit. Community colleges are enthusiastic sponsors of dual enrollment programs. About 98 percent of public community colleges had dual enrollment programs in 2002-03. For public four-year universities, the number is 77 percent. Private community colleges and four-year institutions offer fewer dual enrollment opportunities than their public counterparts.
How Do Dual Enrollment Programs Work?
The requirements of dual admission programs vary considerably nationwide. The following characteristics are common:
? Only certain lower-level college courses are approved for dual credit. Remedial classes, physical education, and music courses are typically excluded from the programs.
? Academic standards are imposed on participants, including minimum grade point averages and standardized test scores.
? Students receive both credit toward high school graduation and college credit for approved courses.
? Courses may be offered on the high school campus, on the college campus, or online.
? Some form of reduced costs, such as free tuition and textbooks, is available for the college courses.
? Most programs limit the participating students to high school juniors and seniors.
? Traditionally, dual enrollment programs were directed toward the standard courses for a two-year or four-year college degree. Recently, community colleges have increasingly implemented programs with a career or technical/vocational focus.
The extent of assistance with tuition and other college expenses varies. In some programs, students pay no tuition to the college and receive free textbooks. Another option is that the college offers a reduced fee for each credit hour taken by a student in the program. Some program offer grants to students to cover their tuition costs. As college tuition costs rise and student assistance decreases, any savings is going to be a welcome benefit for most college-bound students.
Most students participate in dual enrollment programs offered by a local college in close proximity to their homes and high schools. The participating college guarantees that it will accept the courses for college credit. If, however, a student plans to attend another college or university, then the student should confirm that the other institution will accept transfers of the credits from the local college in advance of taking the courses.
Advantages of Dual Enrollment
There are numerous benefits associated with participating in dual enrollment programs.
? Offsets some college expenses
? Shortens the time to get a degree
? Allows qualified students to reduce their course load when they attend college full time
? Avoids duplication in course content
? Offers more challenging curricula for good students
? Eases the transition from high school to college
? Student more likely to go on to get a de