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What is Dual Enrollment?

A person who would like to pay less for their college education might wonder, “What is dual enrollment?” This concept refers to starting college while also attending high school classes. Many states offer free or reduced-cost tuition at public colleges and universities for high school students who are residents of the state, allowing them to get a head start on their higher education without incurring a lot of student loans.

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Partnerships Between High Schools and Colleges

Dual enrollment is a partnership between high schools and colleges. For example, in Ohio, all of the state’s public high schools offer dual enrollment in the state’s public community colleges and universities. The Office of the Chancellor determines the curriculum and ensures that the credits are transferable. A high school junior at Columbus City Schools could start taking their basic mathematics, chemistry or biology classes at Columbus State Community College and earn credits that they could transfer to a four-year university, such as Ohio State University.

How Dual Enrollment Programs Work

A student who wants to participate in a dual enrollment program completes a letter of intent and an application. They must work out the scheduling and transportation with their high school. Some high schools allow participants to take their high school classes in the morning, freeing up their afternoons for the college classes. Some high schools also offer transportation to the college campus. There are online dual enrollment programs available, too. The student earns grades in their high school and college classes. The college credits count toward a degree and can be transferred in accordance with the policies of particular educational institutions. The state chancellors are responsible for ensuring that the participating colleges have set up curricula so that the information the students learn results in a course credit that is transferable to the other public higher education institutions within that state.

Who Can Be in a Dual Enrollment Program

Students who are high-achievers are typically the ones who participate in a dual enrollment program. They need to be above their grade level and have completed their basic high school courses. For example, a high school student who already completed algebra, algebra II, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus credits may be able to start taking additional mathematics classed at a college, such as statistics or logistic regression. In some cases, they could take the college calculus class and get both high school and college credit for it.

What is Dual Enrollment

Benefits of a Dual Enrollment Program

According to Education Trust, students who are in dual enrollment programs are more likely to finish their college degrees. They are more likely to finish that degree in four years or less. They are less likely to incur tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt in order to complete their degree.

Understanding what dual enrollment is could help a high school student and their family make smart decisions for the future. The cost of higher education is often out-of-reach without the help of loans and financial aid, and taking college classes while in high school could bring the total cost of a two-year or four-year degree down by a considerable amount of money. Being aware of the answer to, “What is dual enrollment?” facilitates a person’s high school course, college admissions, and financial planning processes.