Virtual High Schools: Has the State Set a Cap on the Number of Courses a Studentent May Take?
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Virtual High Schools: Has the State Set a Cap on the Number of Courses a Studentent May Take?

These policies relate to states' decisions to set a cap on the number of credits a student may take in a given semester (or year or high school career). Some states, it should be noted, do not set a cap on credits.

Why does it matter?

  • States and districts benefit when they can predict the costs of virtual school programs.
  • Setting caps requires students to take courses in a traditional classroom setting, and students benefit from engaging with their peers and teachers in the classroom.
  • However, caps do risk limiting student options.

    Highlights:
  • Eighteen states do not set a cap on the number of courses.
  • Five states allow the local school district to decide.
  • Five states have set a cap on the number of courses a student can take which ranges from three to six credits per year.

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

    Sources for all data points are available through this link.

    Last updated: December 3, 2007

    Research conducted by Melodye Bush and Michael Colasanti. Please contact Bush (303.299.3631 or mbush@ecs.org) or Colasanti (303.299.3672 or mcolasanti@ecs.org) with comments or questions about this database.


  • Has the state set a cap on the # of courses a student may take (either per semester or during high school career)?
    Alabama No
    Arizona No
    Arkansas No
    California No
    Colorado No
    Florida No
    Georgia One semester course during regular school year.  Limits on enrollment are based on program resources for classes taken outside the regular school day.
    Hawaii Students are limited to two classes per semester.
    Idaho Local school district determines.
    Illinois No; however, it is not unusual for the local school districts to establish policy in this area.
    Iowa Local school district determines.
    Kentucky Local school district determines.
    Louisiana Yes, since no course fees are charged, Louisiana Virtual High School used a three-phase registration system that initially caps course registrations from any single school.
    Maryland No
    Michigan No
    Mississippi No
    Missouri Six credits per year
    New Mexico No
    North Carolina No information available
    North Dakota No
    Oregon Local school district determines.
    South Carolina Yes, a student may take a maximum of three credits per school year, and a maximum of twelve credits throughout his/her high school career. However, a student may appeal to the school district and obtain a waiver to exceed the course limits.
    South Dakota Local school district determines.
    Texas No; however, students who reside in Texas but who are not enrolled in a school district or open-enrollment charter school as a full-time student may not enroll in more than two electronic courses through the virtual school network.
    Utah No
    Virginia No
    West Virginia No
    Wisconsin No

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