Home Student Persistence Dual Credit Programs – Are They Good Enough and Growing Fast Enough?
Dual Credit Programs – Are They Good Enough and Growing Fast Enough?

Dual Credit Programs – Are They Good Enough and Growing Fast Enough?


I’ve been a fan of dual credit programs for a long time. In fact, I’ve written about dual enrollment programs at community colleges across the U.S. and in Texas.

Inside Higher Ed published an article this week about the dual credit system in Indiana. Indiana’s system confirms that for dual credit to work, there need to be policies supporting course transfer and certificate and degree articulation.

Like Texas’ General Education Core Curriculum, Indiana has a College Core consisting of 30 semester hours of courses that meet the state’s competencies and learning outcomes in six areas.

A recent study indicated that 64 percent of the 2018 high school graduates in Indiana earned some postsecondary credit, mostly through dual credit. Factors contributing to that impressive percentage are a state mandate for all high schools to offer at least two dual-credit and two AP classes, a tuition cap of $25 per dual-credit hour (some community colleges charge no tuition), a tuition waiver for all students eligible for free and reduced lunch, state appropriations to institutions ($45 per credit hour) for all dual credit courses successfully completed, and free graduate courses to qualify secondary faculty to teach dual-credit courses. Students who earned dual credit persisted in college at more than 1.5 times the rate of those who didn’t earn any postsecondary credit.

Kudos to Ken Sauer, chief academic officer at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, for writing and submitting this article to Inside Higher Ed for publication. If we are serious about making college affordable and relevant to today’s students, initiatives that reduce the redundancy of courses in college that are like their high school classes, as well as initiatives that facilitate the transfer of credit from one state institution to another are extremely important.

I was curious if comparative data was available to show the progress of dual credit adoption and enrollment by state. Through the Education Commission of the States, I found a report published in August 2019 titled 50-State Comparison: Dual/Concurrent Enrollment Policies. The report provides a substantial amount of information regarding the type of approvals, who is authorized to teach dual credit courses, transfer credit agreements, and statutes authorizing such. Tools are available to drill down on specific states or specific policies.

While the Education Commission of the States report provides comparative data that illuminates which states have made the most progress in policy adoption, there is no data that I can find that collects the dual credit completion data by state. Texas appears to be the most

transparent state in terms of reporting dual credit completions. Indiana is not far behind. Almost all states have policies and some states like Florida have websites dedicated to explaining the advantages of a dual credit program to parents and students. Very few states make it easy to find out how successful they are in enrolling their high school students in dual credit programs.

The irony of this is that dual credit programs properly implemented will save states money by avoiding duplication of classes and resources at the high school and community college (primarily) level and will enable students to complete a degree faster and for a lower cost and will likely attract more in-state students to attend public colleges and universities in-state instead of out-of-state or at private colleges and universities. With a properly implemented program providing transparency as to how and where to enroll and substantial cost incentives, parents and taxpayers can monitor the progress and success. It’s a win-win program if implemented properly. Perhaps someone can tell me why we don’t have more states like Indiana and Texas that are successfully growing enrollments and completions.


Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston continues to serve as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) and as a member and chair of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.


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