Parent Question

“I always hear that the grade your child gets in dual enrollment stays with them forever. But what if the parent chose not to report it on transcript? How does the school he/she is applying to know?”

This is an important question, I’m glad you asked.

First, you are correct on both counts. Yes, a dual enrollment grade stays with a student’s permanent record forever (there are opportunities for grade replacement by retaking a class if you’re unsatisfied with your grade, but then the new grade is promoted and fills the spot of a class that stays with the student forever) and that college credits need to be disclosed to future colleges. Let’s expand on why that happens, how they know, and what you’ll want to do to protect your student.

When your student takes a college course (not credit by exam or alternative credit) their enrollment generates a paper trail. Whether or not they withdrawal or earn a grade, there will be a record of that attempt on their official college transcript. If your teen stays at that college, their attempt will be part of their grade point average.

When your teen applies somewhere new, there will be a part of the application that asks you to disclose all previous colleges attended. Upon disclosure, the college will ask for official college transcripts from all prior colleges.

Colleges do a few things with your transcripts.

  • evaluate prior courses for potential transfer credit
  • evaluate GPA and grades
  • to check for financial holds on your account (colleges won’t release an official transcript when you have a balance due, so no payment = no transcript)
  • to waive placement tests
  • to determine if prerequisites have been met
  • for students with college credit earned after high school, they will determine if you should apply as a freshman or transfer student. Does not apply to students earning credit during high school.

When your teen attends a college for dual enrollment or a degree, the college reports their enrollment to the National Student Clearinghouse. “The National Student Clearinghouse’s StudentTracker® is the only nationwide source of college enrollment and degree data. Nearly 3,600 colleges and universities — enrolling over 97% of all students in public and private U.S. institutions — regularly provide enrollment and graduation data to the Clearinghouse.”

An advantage for colleges is they can outsource tasks like generating student transcripts or sending degree verification to employers. When a college uses NSC, the student obtains their records directly from NSC, so this is a huge convenience for the college. Since the NSC tracks your teen’s enrollment, failure to report and disclose prior college enrollment is nearly impossible.

Can disclosure be avoided?

Assuming your intent is to bring those credits into a degree, you should try your best to earn a passing grade. If you expect a poor outcome, my strongest recommendation is to withdrawal well ahead of the deadline. This process does still get recorded on a transcript, but a “W” is always better than an “F” so aside from the annoying time and cost involved obtaining a transcript that isn’t going to amount to any credit, there really aren’t any disadvantages of this.

Let’s split hairs for a minute and get into the details. If your son doesn’t apply anywhere new, then the question won’t be asked and therefore there is nothing to disclose. In other words, if his 4-year degree is in progress at ABC College, then outside credit attempts wouldn’t automatically become part of his transcript. Furthermore, if he’s enrolled at two colleges simultaneously, then it’s possible to never have to disclose because you’re not opening a new application.

But really, what’s the worst that can happen?

You’re right, it’s possible that you won’t get caught. All colleges have an “Academic Integrity” policy or “Application Fraud” statement, and prior to the college admissions scandal of 2020 most colleges didn’t put a lot of teeth into their policy, but things have changed. Your target college probably DOES address the consequences for deception in your college application, and the consequences will likely be steep.

The University of Houston threatens a fine of $20,000 an possible jail time.

Queens University will terminate your acceptance offer.

CUNY system will revoke your application unless you’re enrolled, and that results in suspension. If you’ve already graduated when its discovered, they reserve the right to revoke your degree.

Best Practices

  1. College credits that don’t generate a paper trail can be used until a parent is confident about their teen’s ability. CLEP, AP, DSST, ASU Universal Learner, ACE, Sophia, Studycom, Straighterline, Saylor Academy, ALEKS, and several others are good options.
  2. A “W” is always better than an “F” – if your teen is in trouble, get them out of the class!!
  3. Use grade replacement when a student earns a “D” or “F” in a class they need for their degree.
  4. Credit by exam is generally NOT allowed for grade replacement.
  5. Enroll in a limited number of credits to get started- don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  6. Respect recommended prerequisites and placement tests. Some colleges don’t enforce this, but these recommendations are in place to help your student be successful.
  7. Plan to disclose all college credits earned or attempted in high school.
  8. Do your best an know that a poor grade is NOT the end of the world!


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit

2 thoughts on “Parent Question

  1. I thought ACE credits do leave a paper trail and become part of their permanent record? I was told by the community college where my daughter is going to earn the 24 ACE credits, that whatever grade a student gets at that CC, or whether or not they fail or withdraw, is on their permanent record. We decided that she should try her first few DE classes at ASU to avoid this.

    1. Your daughter is NOT earning ACE credits through her community college- let me explain. ACE credits are credits that are evaluated by a third party because they are not offered by colleges, so she might *use* her ACE credits at a college, but they are not *earned* through a college. So, what the college told you is true- that the grades your student earns there ARE part of her permanent record. Since ACE credits are not coming from the college, they are not college credits until/unless you have them sent to a college. That is 100% optional. Does that help explain the difference?

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