College-Based Dual Enrollment

College-Based Dual Enrollment
Transferability: Excellent

Excellent transferability means that nearly all regionally accredited colleges in the country will accept these credits when transfer credit is allowed. Pursue credit in this category with confidence.

What is Dual Enrollment?

Hardly available five years ago, dual enrollment is hot now and growing in popularity. High school students enrolled in a dual enrollment program, are “double-dipping” a course for high school and college credit. As an example, a student may take English 101 at the local college, and the parent also “counts” the course as their 12th grade English class. It’s a fantastic opportunity if you’re aware it exists.

Dual enrollment is not universally defined.  I use the term “dual enrollment” as a generic catch-all term to mean any college course a high school student takes for college credit and high school credit at the same time.   Be aware that most colleges or school districts will have a specific definition.  It can get complicated, but we will help you navigate the process.

Examples of program brand names:

  • Career and College Promise
  • Middle College
  • Early College
  • Postsecondary Enrollment Option (PSEO)
  • Concurrent Enrollment
  • Dual Credit
  • Joint High School
  • Articulated High School

The concept is the same, but the details will vary—sometimes a lot. A typical dual enrollment program is open to 11th, and 12th-grade students while meeting a high school diploma and college degree requirement simultaneously. They offer an assortment of classes and are open to anyone with the ambition to succeed.

How does Dual Enrollment Work?

The student attends class, online or in person, along with the regular college students. Some states offer this for free; others charge full tuition, so you’ll want to check in your HS4CC state-based Facebook group to find out what is available right now. Note that states can change from year to year, so what is true today may be very different next year!

Registration for homeschool students is done directly with the college. If you’d like, you can even search beyond your state. Many community colleges offer their distance learning courses as dual enrollment, so the location of the physical campus isn’t relevant. With nearly 3,800 colleges in the United States, most allowing participation, this opens up a fantastic opportunity for homeschooled teens.

We keep a list of colleges that allow out of state students to enroll as a distance learning student. See list.

caution:   dual enrollment courses won’t be censored for your teen.  Maturity should always be considered.

As a homeschool family, your teen’s access to dual enrollment is often better than if they were in public school. In many states, the public school’s guidance counselor chooses which students and which courses are offered, and generally, only the top scoring students are eligible. As the homeschool administrator, you can choose whether or not your teen participates, and if they aren’t eligible to participate locally, you can choose to use a different college outside your state. If you want to learn it, it’s out there to learn!

Learn Now Transfer Later

Though this isn’t the case in all 50 states, nearly every state has determined that college courses taken for dual enrollment at a public community college are guaranteed to transfer into that state’s public university system. Not having that guarantee doesn’t mean that it won’t transfer, but having the guarantee is an added peace of mind! Even in these guaranteed transfer states, a private university often marches to their own drum and can reject the transfer of credit with otherwise excellent transferability.

Your teen is still A FIRST TIME FRESHMAN when they’ve earned college credit in high school. Credit earned after high school graduation is what turns your student into a “transfer” student. 

What’s it Cost?

That depends. Some of you will live in states with free dual enrollment tuition, others will have access to reduced tuition, and some will pay full price. No matter what YOUR STATE OFFERS, you can always shop around! For instance, there are out of state opportunities as low as $25 per credit, so if your state’s best price for reduced dual enrollment tuition is $100 per credit, you may want to look elsewhere.

Dual Enrollment costs for homeschoolers by state

During high school you have unlimited access to reduced or free tuition in any amount, but after high school you will absolutely with certainty pay full price.

The following states offer free dual enrollment options to homeschooled students at the time of this writing:

  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

If you’re paying full price for your dual enrollment, you should know that tuition is charged per credit, not per course. To calculate a course’s cost, multiply the number of credits in the course times the tuition cost per credit. A typical college course is 3 credits.  At $100 per credit, a 3 credit course is $100 x 3 = $300.

Secular or Religious?

Both! While your state may have limitations for what they pay for (ex. secular only in NC but not the case in OH) you can always choose the better fit for your family and you always have the final say on where your teens take college classes. For parents who want religious dual enrollment courses,  I keep a list of colleges with proper accreditation and open to homeschooling students living any state. Since the majority of programs are secular, it’s a bit harder to find religious programs, so I’ve made a list and created a Facebook group specifically for the HS4CC families who want this option.

HS4CC 2021 Out-of-State Dual Enrollment List (Religious Colleges)

HS4CC Christian Colleges & Dual Enrollment Facebook Group

What to Watch Out For

The down-side to dual enrollment is simple, if your child bombs the class, the grade is on their permanent record at the college. Colleges require you to disclose all previously earned credit under penalty, so that “D” may count against future college applications, but for sure counts in their college GPA. For that reason, do not rush your child into a course before they’re ready, and consider taking only 1 course at first. Adjusting to a college schedule is difficult for most people of any age.

Lastly, in my college classroom where I was the instructor, more than 90% of the “F” grades I’d  given out were simply a result of failing to withdrawal. Meaning, the student didn’t fail for “academic” reasons, they simply didn’t withdrawal properly.  In other words, never allow your teen to stop attending class—even if it’s an “online” class. If your teen is not going to pass their class, for any reason, withdrawal from the course immediately using the formal withdrawal procedure. You may or may not get any of your tuition back, but you are protecting your GPA, which is more important. Always withdrawal your child instead of allowing a failing grade for the course.

For the motivated student, it’s possible to earn an entire certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree along with his high school diploma. And yes, if your teen earns a degree IN HIGH SCHOOL they will still apply to college and for financial aid as a first time incoming freshman.

To Keep in Mind for Out-of-State DE

  • dual enrollment out of state is always a self-pay situation
  • dual enrollment out of state will occur as a distance learning student
  • transfer arrangements are rare
  • choosing general education courses significantly improves chances of successful credit transfer
  • you do not have to earn a degree at the college you use for DE

A parent from our North Carolina Facebook group writes: 

“The admissions rep from NCSU pointed out that if a student completes two years at a community college and transfers into ANY North Carolina public college, then the savings is the equivalent of them winning a huge scholarship. I hadn’t thought of it like that. He said the savings is between $28,000 and $32,000. That’s pretty awesome!”


Blog posts about dual enrollment

Earning a Credential Through Dual Enrollment? FAQ

Some of your teens will earn a certificate, diploma, or degree while still in high school. This process usually requires some action on your part as well as your teen’s. Answers to these frequently asked questions will help!

We Can’t Afford Dual Enrollment

The DeRosa family moves at the speed of budget. We’ve been on the “envelope system” for a decade, and borrowing for college doesn’t get a free pass. For us, paying for college “at any cost” doesn’t mean spending more, it means being smarter! Sometimes that means I have to slow down our college credit program […]

Finding the “Right” Dual Enrollment Professor

You’re scanning for your teen’s perfect course and you found it! But wait, there are two sections, each taught by a different professor. What if it says “TBA?” How do you choose?? Finding the right dual enrollment courses can be stressful and intimidating, but here are a few good ways to find the best one.