Dual Enrollment: Cap on Number of Credits Students May Earn

Dual Enrollment: Cap on Number of Credits Students May Earn


This database indicates whether state policy sets a limit on the number of dual enrollment credits a student may earn: per semester, per school year, or during a student's high school career.

Policies specifying whether high school students may access postsecondary developmental/remedial coursework through dual enrollment programs are found here.

Why does it matter?
  • Concerns are often expressed about students taking too many dual enrollment classes without documentation that the level of rigor is equal to that of traditional postsecondary courses.
  • Some critics contend that allowing students to take too many college courses takes away from their high school experience.
  • Programs such as Georgia's Move on When Ready, which allows high school juniors and seniors to enroll full-time in postsecondary coursework, can result in significant cost savings to families, and greatly reduce time to degree completion.
Highlights
  • Four states cap the number of dual enrollment credits high school students may earn. However, caps are generally high, and may be as many as 30 semester hours per academic year.
  • Thirteen states explicitly allow high school students to enroll in college programs as part- or full-time students.
  • In five states, state policy places a cap on the number of postsecondary credits students may earn in one program but sets no cap in another state program.
  • In 27 states and the District of Columbia, state policy does not address this issue. Caps may be set by local agreements or individual postsecondary institutions/systems.


Methodology: This information was collected from state statutes, rules and regulations, and state education agency Web sites. A profile was sent to each state for review and modification, as needed.

Last updated: March 2016

This database was compiled by Jennifer Dounay Zinth: 303.299.3689 or jzinth@ecs.org.
 

Cap on number of credits students may earn
Alabama Not set in state policy
Alaska Not set in state policy
Arizona Not set in state policy. However, a community college or university enrolling a student on the postsecondary campus may limit the number of semester hours in which a student may enroll to no less than 6 credit hours.
Arkansas Not set in state policy. For endorsed concurrent enrollment: students may participate only in English, math, science and social studies courses.
California Original program: No — student may enroll as part- or full-time student at a community college. However, if a student is enrolled as a part-time student, the student may enroll in no more than 11 units per semester.

In addition, a principal may not recommend for community college summer session attendance more than 5% of the total number of pupils who have just completed that grade. Exceptions provided for courses in the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum or California State University general education requirements, certain occupational courses, and non-college-credit-bearing courses for high school seniors who have not passed the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE).

College and Career Access Pathways partnershipsNo — student may enroll as part- or full-time student. However, a student participating as a special part-time student may enroll in a maximum of 15 units per term if all the following conditions are satisfied:
  • The units are no more than 4 community college courses per term
  • The units are part of an academic program that is part of a CCAP partnership agreement
  • The units are part of an academic program designed to award students both a high school diploma and associate degree or certificate or credential.
In addition, the statewide number of full-time equivalent students claimed as special admits may not exceed 10% of the total number of full-time equivalent students claimed statewide.
Colorado No. With the exception of limits for students retained in grade 12 for not satisfying local graduation requirements by the end of grade 12, the state board may not limit the number of postsecondary courses, including academic courses and career and technical education courses, in which a qualified student may concurrently enroll during grades 9-12.

Students retained in grade 12 for not satisfying local graduation requirements by the end of grade 12 may not enroll in more than a total of nine credit hours, including basic skills courses. Such a student may not enroll in more than 6 credit hours of postsecondary coursework in a semester if registered as a full-time student in his/her district or high school, or more than 3 credit hours of postsecondary coursework in a semester if registered as a part-time student in his/her district or high school.
Connecticut Not set in state policy
Delaware Not set in state policy
District of Columbia Not set in state policy
Florida No — student may enroll as part- or full-time student. Through early admission, a student may enroll in a postsecondary institution on a full-time basis in courses creditable toward the high school diploma and the associate or baccalaureate degree. A participating student must enroll in at least 12 college credit hours per semester or the equivalent. However, a student may not be required to enroll in more than 15 college credit hours per semester or the equivalent. Early admission students are exempt from paying registration, tuition, and laboratory fees.

Career early admission allows students to enroll full-time in a career center or a Florida College System institution in postsecondary programs leading to industry certifications, as listed in the CAPE Postsecondary Industry Certification Funding List pursuant to s. 1008.44, which are creditable toward the high school diploma and the certificate or associate degree. Participating students must have completed a minimum of 4 semesters of full-time secondary enrollment, including 9th grade enrollment. Career early admission students are exempt from paying registration, tuition, and laboratory fees.
Georgia Not set in state policy
Hawaii Not set in state policy
Idaho No — student may enroll as part- or full-time student. The state department of education distributes funds from the moneys appropriated for the educational support program to defray the per credit cost charged for dual credit courses taken by seniors who have completed all graduation requirements before the beginning of their final 12th grade semester/trimester.
Illinois Not set in state policy
Indiana Postsecondary Enrollment Program: No — student may enroll as part- or full-time student, upon the recommendation of a school administrator.
Iowa Yes. A student may not be enrolled in more than 24 college credit hours at any one postsecondary institution during an academic year.
Kansas No — student may enroll as part- or full-time student.
Kentucky Not set in state policy

 
Louisiana Dual Enrollment: Not set in state policy

TOPS-Tech Early Start Award: Yes. Two semesters in grade 11 and two semesters in grade 12, excluding summer sessions.
Maine Not set in state policy
Maryland Not set in state policy
Massachusetts General courses: No — student may enroll as part- or full-time student.

Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Partnership: At the discretion of individual institutions. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education encourages participating campuses to enroll as many students as possible with the expectation that students will take no more than one course. 
Michigan Postsecondary Enrollment Options and Career and Technical Preparation Act: If there is no written agreement between a student’s school district and the eligible postsecondary institution to waive limits, a course is not an eligible course if the student’s participation would exceed: (1) more than 10 courses overall; (2) more than 2 courses per year if student first enrolls in a course in grade 9, not more than 2 courses during each academic year in the student's 1st, 2nd , or 3rd academic year of enrollment in an eligible postsecondary institution or career and technical preparation program and not more than 4 courses during the academic year in the student's 4th academic year of enrollment; (3) If the student first enrolls in a course in grade 10, not more than 2 courses during the 1st academic year of enrollment in an eligible postsecondary institution or career or technical preparation program, not more than 4 courses during 2nd academic year of enrollment in an eligible postsecondary institution or career and technical preparation program, and not more than 4 courses during 3rd academic year of enrollment in an eligible postsecondary institution or career and technical preparation program; or (4) subject to the limit of 10 courses overall, if the student first enrolls in a course when the student is in grade 11 or 12, not more than 6 courses during either of those academic years. A student must be enrolled in at least 1 high school course.

In addition, a 5th year high school student who has not completed all high school graduation requirements is limited to enrollment in no more than 2 postsecondary or CTE preparation courses at any one time, and no more than 4 such courses during the school year.
Minnesota No — student may enroll as part- or full-time student. However, a student first enrolling in Postsecondary Enrollment Options in grade 9 may not take more than the equivalent of four years' coursework; a student first enrolling in grade 10 may not take more than the equivalent of three years' coursework; a student first enrolling in grade 11 may not take more than the equivalent of two years' coursework; a student first enrolling in grade 12 may not take more than the equivalent of one year's coursework. If a district determines a student is not on track to graduate, the limit on participation does not apply to that student.
Mississippi Not set in state policy. A qualified dually enrolled high school student must be allowed to earn an unlimited number of college or university credits for dual credit, provided the student earns a “B” average on the first two courses.
Missouri Not set in state policy
Montana Not set in state policy
Nebraska Not set in state policy
Nevada Not set in state policy
New Hampshire Not set in state policy
New Jersey Not set in state policy
New Mexico No. A high school student may enroll in as many college courses as he/she wishes during a fall, spring or summer semester, provided the student's schedule is at least half comprised of public education department (PED)-approved high school courses.
New York Not set in state policy
North Carolina No — student may enroll as part- or full-time student.
North Dakota Not set in state policy
Ohio Yes. Under the College Credit Plus program, students may earn a maximum of 30 credit hours per academic year, with a maximum of four academic years or 120 credit hours total through the program, including those students eligible to begin program participation in 7th or 8th grade.

In addition, all public and participating private colleges, and eligible out-of-state colleges participating in the program, must offer a pathway that enables participants to earn an associate degree upon completion of the pathway. In order to complete the pathway and earn an associate degree, participants must earn at least 60, but not more than 72, credit hours, or the equivalent number of hours for colleges operating on a quarter schedule. Participants in the associate degree pathway may enroll in more than 60 credit hours, or the equivalent number of quarter hours, over a period of two school years. However, no participant may enroll in more than 72 credit hours, or the quarter hour equivalent, over that same period.
Oklahoma No absolute number of postsecondary credits — either per semester or during a student's high school career — but the total number of high school and college courses a student is taking in a given semester may not equal more than 19 semester credit hours. For purposes of this calculation, one semester high school course is equivalent to three postsecondary credit hours. However, students wishing to go beyond this limit may petition the institution.

Tuition waivers for seniors are limited to a maximum of 6 credit hours per semester.
Oregon No — student may enroll as part- or full-time student. However, a student first enrolling in grade 11 may not take more than the equivalent of two years' coursework; a student first enrolling in grade 12 may not take more than the equivalent of one year's coursework.
Pennsylvania Yes — no more than 24 postsecondary credits in any school year.

*Program currently inactive due to inadequate state funds*
Rhode Island No — student may enroll as part- or full-time student.
South Carolina Not set in state policy. "The number of college-level courses completed in these dual enrollment offerings will vary according to the student's ability and work ethic."
South Dakota Generally and Campus Enrollment: Not set in state policy

Dual Credit: Yes. No more than 9 credit hours in any academic term. Waivers to this threshold may be approved by the System Vice President for Academic Affairs with verification that the student has completed all attempted credit hours with a "B" or higher.

Concurrent Enrollment: Not set in state policy
Tennessee Not set in state policy. However, a student's participation in the Dual Enrollment Grant program, which covers up to 2 courses per semester during grades 11 and 12, is limited to the remaining amount of time normally required to complete the high school diploma, from the time of initial participation in the program. The grant is available for the regular fall and spring semester, and for summer semesters prior to graduation from high school for those students who did not exceed the maximum award during the regular school year.
Texas No - student may be enrolled as part-time or full-time student. Legislation prohibits regulation from limiting the number of dual credit courses or hours a high school student may complete each semester or academic year, or during high school.
Utah Yes. State reimbursement to LEAs may not exceed 30 semester hours per student per year.
Vermont Not set in state policy
Virginia Not set in state policy
Washington Running Start: Yes. Running Start dollars will fund no more than a maximum of 15 quarter credits (1.0 FTE) per term, assuming no more than .2 FTE enrollment in the high school. A student first enrolling in grade 11 may not take more than the equivalent of two years' coursework; a student first enrolling in grade 12 may not take more than the equivalent of one year's coursework.

College in the High School: Not set in state policy
West Virginia Not set in state policy
Wisconsin Youth Options and 118.55(7r): Yes. A school board may adopt a policy limiting the number of credits the board will pay for to the equivalent of 18 postsecondary semester credits per pupil. A postsecondary institution’s admissions policies may not restrict the number of courses a student takes.

Course Options: Yes. A student may attend no more than 2 courses at any time.

Dual Enrollment: Not set in state policy

Section 118.15(1)(b): No — student may enroll as part- or full-time student.
Wyoming Not set in state policy


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