OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education
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The Role of State Policies in Shaping Dual Enrollment Programs

Research and Evaluation | Noteworthy Practices | Additional Links

Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to simultaneously earn credit towards a high school diploma and a postsecondary degree or certificate. Depending on state policies, these programs are also called "dual credit" or "concurrent enrollment."

All but three states have enacted dual enrollment policies, according to the Education Commission of the States. These state-level policies shape the dual enrollment programs and in turn the services that students receive. Policies can be loosely classified as either "comprehensive" or "limited." Twenty-one states have comprehensive policies with few course restrictions, liberal credit-granting policies and minimal (or no) student fees. Twenty-six states have "limited policies," which do not provide funding for student tuition and have more restrictions on credit and student access.

Because of the different policies that guide these programs, dual enrollment programs vary widely from state-to-state. Variation exists in how they are financed; who can participate; where the courses are offered; who teaches the course; what the student mix is; and how many courses are offered through the program. For example, courses can be offered on a college campus or at a high school. Courses can also be taught by college faculty or by high school teachers certified by the college. Some dual enrollment programs teach high school students separately, in their own classes, while others combine high school students and college students in the same course. Many states restrict the number of credits that students can earn, while other offer multiple credits in a sequenced program of study.

Research and Evaluation

Noteworthy Practices

  • Salt Lake City Community College's (UT) concurrent enrollment program provides students with the opportunity to take courses based on interest or course needs. Students take electives through the program, but do not forgo other high school courses in order to participate.

  • Washington State's dual enrollment program, Running Start, offers students a more comprehensive college experience that, in many ways, replaces the final years of high school. Running Start courses are offered on community college campuses and students generally take their full course load through the program.

Examples of State Programs

  • Minnesota was the first state to develop a dual enrollment program, Post- Secondary Enrollment Options Program. The state's comprehensive policy mandates that schools provide students with dual enrollment opportunities.

Additional Links

  • Dual/Concurrent Enrollment Database provides information on each state's program in the following areas: description of state policies and rationale; party responsible for payment of tuition/fees; source of credit received; advantages, disadvantages, and unique characteristics of each program. (Use Dual/Concurrent Enrollment from dropdown menu and go to What States Are Doing)

  • The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP). An organization for education professionals who administer or participate in concurrent enrollment partnerships.

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Last Modified: 09/24/2007