Early Colleges/Middle Colleges: Public Postsecondary Institutions Required to Accept Credits

Early Colleges/Middle Colleges: Public Postsecondary Institutions Required to Accept Credits

This database indicates whether public two- and four-year institutions in the state are required to accept credits a student has earned through an early or middle college high school program.

Why does it matter?
  • Early/middle college programs will not live up to their potential if students are forced to repeat courses upon admission to another postsecondary institution.
  • Alignment of content and expectations is critical so that courses meet all postsecondary level course equivalency expectations.

  • Two states — Colorado and North Carolina — require public two- and four-year institutions in the state to accept credits earned through an early college high school program.
  • Three states — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas — do not require credits earned through middle and early college programs to be accepted by public postsecondary institutions. In practice, however, most Michigan postsecondary institutions do accept early/middle college credits.
  • Policies on the transfer of early/middle college credits are unclear in two states.

What's not included in this database:
  • While partnerships between districts and postsecondary institutions make early and middle college high schools available in many states, the state policies governing these partnerships are often either intended for dual enrollment, charter or alternative programs. Such policies are not usually a good fit with the unique characteristics of early and middle colleges. State policies included here are specifically designed to provide a comprehensive structure for early and middle college high schools.
  • State policies that address early college or middle college in piecemeal fashion but do not address the overall structure or functioning of programs.
  • State programs that allow high school students to earn substantial amounts of postsecondary credit but do not appear to fully align with the early or middle college model (i.e., West Virginia EDGE).

    As of August 2008, seven states have explicit state-level policies governing the creation of local early and/or middle college high school partnerships. States whose local early/middle college programs are governed by dual enrollment or charter school policies are not included in this database.

    Sources for all data points are accessible through this link.

    Methodology: This information was collected from state statutes, rules and regulations, and state education agency Web sites, and will be updated as new policies and programs are enacted.

    Last updated: August 20, 2008

    This database was compiled by Jennifer Dounay Zinth, project manager, ECS High School Policy Center. For questions, additions or corrections: 303.299.3689 or jdounay@ecs.org.

Public postsecondary institutions required to accept credits
California State policy unclear
Colorado Yes. Courses from the "state guaranteed general education list of courses" and completed with a "C" or higher at a public institution offering an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science must be accepted. "Since 1988 Colorado has had an operating two-plus-two transfer agreement that ensures a student who completes an A.A. or A.S. degree with a grade of "C" or better in all courses, will have junior standing at the receiving institution -i.e., transfer 60 credit hours."

Credits earned in relevant courses at an area vocational school will be recognized at two- and four-year public institutions. "The relevancy of credits earned at area vocational colleges will be determined through transcript evaluations administered by receiving institutions unless the credits were earned in courses carrying the guaranteed statewide transfer designation, in which case the credits will be guaranteed for transfer[.]"
Michigan No, although in practice, most public postsecondary institutions in the state do accept early/middle college credits.
North Carolina Yes. Learn and Earn and Learn and Earn Online courses are covered by the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA). As such, academic core courses completed with a "C" or better through an associate's degree program will be recognized across the North Carolina Community College System and the 16 UNC institutions.
Pennsylvania No — only the institution at which the student took the course is required to award credit for the course. Other postsecondary institutions may grant credit for the course. However, community colleges, member institutions of the State System of Higher Education and state-related institutions may not deny credit for an early or middle college course based on the fact that the credit was earned through an early or middle college program.
Tennessee State policy unclear
Texas No. While institutions of higher education must accept courses that fall within the 42-credit core curriculum, the state has not yet determined policies requiring courses outside the core to be accepted by other public postsecondary institutions.

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