College & Workforce Readiness

Dual Enrollment: Trouble Transferring Credit Sparks Questions

By Catherine Gewertz — September 07, 2016 2 min read
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Are dual-enrollment programs being oversold?

That’s the question we pose in a story published Wednesday on edweek.org.

Before you grab a baseball bat to come beat me up, read the story. I know dual-enrollment programs are popular; Participation is soaring. In the K-12 world, it isn’t hard to stumble onto someone singing the praises of these programs, which allow teenagers to earn college credit while they’re still in high school.

We’re not knocking dual-enrollment, because we’re aware that there’s a solid stack of research backing up the claims about its many benefits for students. But there are some questions people are asking about it, too.

Like this one: What about the increasingly common pitch that dual-enrollment programs can help students get through college more quickly, saving time and money? Is that really true?

That’s where things get a little trickier.

What we found is that most of the time, credits transfer successfully. But in many other cases, students end up feeling misled and disappointed when their dual-enrollment credits aren’t accepted by the universities they choose, or when the credits are accepted only as general-education credits (not for students’ major course of study).

So what’s going on here? Where’s the disconnect?

Read our story and find out!

One piece of the problem, though, is that policies about dual-enrollment credit transfer vary from college to college and state to state, so it’s hard for students and counselors to know how good a bet they’re making. And we came across a neat little resource—the only one we know of—that’s worth knowing about if you’re trying to help a student figure out a potential credit transfer.

The University of Connecticut, which operates one of the oldest, if not the oldest, dual-enrollment programs in the country, has been building a database of college and university policies on dual-enrollment credit transfer. It’s obtained the policies of about 900 institutions, not all-inclusive, but a place to start when researching the question.

The Education Commission of the States has an enormous database of information about dual-enrollment policies, too. Check our story for links to those resources as well.

For more stories on dual-enrollment programs, see:


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A version of this news article first appeared in the High School & Beyond blog.