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Tuesday, December 24, 2013
High Schoolers Dual-Enrolled in College: How Does Hawaii Compare?
By News Release @ 6:28 PM :: 3420 Views :: Education K-12

More states using dual enrollment as strategy to improve college access and readiness, ECS finds

News Release from Education Commission of the States

DENVER – States increasingly are turning to dual enrollment as a strategy for improving college readiness and access, according to a 50-state database launched today by the Education Commission of the States.  

The online database, available here, shows 47 states and the District of Columbia now have state laws governing dual enrollment, the practice of allowing high school students to enroll in college courses.  

“More states are talking about the benefits they see with dual enrollment, in that it presents a tremendous opportunity to expose students to college expectations, allows them to earn college credit and potentially increases the number of traditionally underrepresented students who go to college,” said ECS Senior Policy Analyst Jennifer Dounay Zinth.  

Perhaps because of that goal, the number of states making students and their families primarily responsible for the costs of dual enrollment is dropping, from 22 in 2008 to 11 in 2013, according to Zinth’s analysis.  

Other findings from the analysis:  

--Quality. States are striving to ensure the rigor of the classes. In 2008, 29 states included mandates for instructor or course quality in their laws, such as requiring high school teachers be appointed adjunct faculty at a partner college. In 2013, that figure was up to 37.

--Reporting. States are tracking who’s enrolling in dual enrollment classes. In 2008, 18 states required a participating college or high school partner to report on the demographics and/or success of students in the programs. In 2013, that number was up to 30.

--Notification. States are building student and parent notification into their laws. In 2013, 18 states required all students in specific grades and their parents to be notified of dual enrollment laws. In another two states with multiple programs, family notification was required in at least one program.

Zinth said state policies vary widely on whether high school students identified as needing additional college preparation can take such “remedial” courses as part of dual enrollment programs. Eight states allow it but 16 states explicitly forbid students from enrolling in remedial classes, which typically don’t count for college credit.  

The database includes a state-by-state breakdown on 20 data points about dual enrollment as well as comprehensive state profiles. A grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported this effort. ECS receives most of its funding from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the three U.S. territories it serves.  


About ECS. ECS is the only nationwide, nonpartisan organization that works directly with governors, legislators, chief state school officers, higher education officials, and other leaders across all areas of education, from pre-K to college and the workforce.

CB:Does Tuition Keep Hawaii High School Students from Taking College Courses?

LINK:  50-state database 

Program Basics
Statewide policy in place Yes
Definition or title of program Running Start. In addition, statute clarifies that Running Start provisions do not preclude the department of education and the University of Hawaii system from establishing programs by mutual agreement that permit high school students to enroll in college courses.
Where courses provided
  • At postsecondary institution
Postsecondary and/or secondary credit earned Both
Students may take developmental/remedial coursework for dual credit No
CTE component Yes. A career and technical education course is included in the statutory definition of “qualified course” for Running Start.
Unique characteristics None identified
Offering mandatory or voluntary Not specified
College partners can be 2-year/4-year/both Both
Student eligibility requirements
  • Written approval/recommendation. Approval from the student’s parent, high school counselor, and high school principal is part of the Running Start application.
  • Meets entrance requirements set by postsecondary institution. Student must pass a standardized test administered by the college that demonstrates the student's ability to succeed at the college level.
  • Student in grades 11-12
  • Other. Student must be under the age of 21 as of September 1 of the school year in which the course is taken, and must meet other qualifications deemed appropriate by the department of education or the university; provided that subsequent qualifications do not restrict any student from taking the standardized test.
Cap on number of credits students may earn Not set in state policy
Students/parents must be notified of dual enrollment opportunities No
Counseling/advising is made available to students Yes. The department must provide participating students with guidance in earning credit toward high school graduation upon the satisfactory completion of University of Hawaii courses at the 100 level and above. In practice, this is via the department of education website.
Who is primarily responsible for paying tuition Student/parent, unless the student is eligible for free-/reduced-price lunch, in which case the student may apply for a GEAR UP Hawaii Running Start Scholarship. The scholarship is for tuition/fees and required textbooks for a 3- to 4-credit class. Priority is given to students who have not previously received a scholarship, and to seniors.
How state funds participating high schools Equal
How state funds participating postsecondary institutions Equal
Ensuring Program Quality
Instructor and course quality component Not applicable—courses are taken only at colleges.
Institutional reporting requirement Not set in state policy
Program evaluation component Not set in state policy
Public postsecondary institutions required to accept credits Yes. All Running Start course credits that would otherwise be transferable but for a student's grade level, must be transferable to any University of Hawaii system degree granting institution.

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