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College-Based Dual Enrollment- What is it?

College-Based Dual Enrollment
Excellent transferability

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.

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

Dual enrollment is not universally defined.  I use “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.

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 have to check your community. 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 2000 community colleges in the United States, this opens up a fantastic opportunity for homeschooled teens.

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.

In-State or Out-of-State?

When a student “goes away” to college, tuition prices are often calculated based on the student’s state of residence.  If you attend “in-state” that generally means a lower tuition cost than if you attend a college “out-of-state.”  Students in high school are in a different category, and dual enrollment programs  ALWAYS mean the student is still in high school living at home- so “where” they take their classes can be as simple as going down the street to your local community college, or as a distance learner attending a class 3 time zones away.  

Participating in dual enrollment out of state is always a self-pay situation.  Financial aid is not an option for high school students, so anyone choosing this option must always budget for tuition and books. Most colleges that offer dual enrollment will significantly reduce their tuition for high school students! A private liberal arts college may charge regular students $2,000 per class while high school students can take that same class for as little as $300.   As you can see, it’s to your teen’s advantage to take as many classes at the reduced rate as possible.  

HS4CC Out of State Dual Enrollment List

But wait….

There are a number of states that have robust free dual enrollment college programs, and if you are fortunate enough to live in one of these states, you’ll pay $0 tuition if your teen is in high school.  (You’ll pay full price once they graduate).  Since some dual enrollment is regulated per college, and others per district, and others per state, and from there may have different rules for homeschooled teens, it’s really hard to find these programs!  There are no master lists that are updated often, but we’ve built Homeschooling for College Credit Facebook groups in every state to specifically address this question.

HS4CC Dual Enrollment Communities


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit