Dual-enrollment programs are soaring in popularity, writes Catherine Gewertz in Education Week. Students hope earning college credits in high school will save them time and money in college. But some are discovering their colleges won’t accept dual-enrollment credits.
While in high school in Dallas, Sabrina Villanueva earned 12 credits at a local community college by taking speech, government, psychology and sociology. The credits counted toward her high school diploma — but the University of Rochester rejected them all. That ended her plans to minor in psychology or sociology while majoring in engineering.
“Dual enrollment is like the Wild West,” Davis Jenkins, a senior research associate at the Community College Research Center, told Gewertz. “No one seems to know what credits students are earning and whether those credits are applicable toward any sort of degree.”
Only half the states have agreements that require public colleges and universities to accept dual-enrollment credits, according to the Education Commission of the States, and those agreements don’t require the compliance of private institutions.
More than 11 percent of high school students take dual-enrollment courses. Under a new federal pilot program, low-income students can “use Pell grants to cover costs at 44 institutions,” writes Gewertz.
Community college students also have trouble transferring credits to four-year institutions. Some states now require public universities to work with community colleges to agree on which courses are rigorous enough to generate transfer credits.
Many colleges and universities won’t award credit for a grade of 3 (supposedly a C equivalent) on an Advanced Placement exam; some give no credit for a 4 (B) or 5 (A).