November 9, 2012
FLORIDA'S DUAL ENROLLMENT PROGRAM
By: Terrance Adams, Legislative Analyst II
You asked for a description of Florida's dual enrollment program.
Florida's dual enrollment program allows high school students to simultaneously earn credit towards high school completion and a career certificate or associate or baccalaureate degree at a Florida public higher education institution. Students must meet minimum GPA and other criteria to be eligible to take dual enrollment courses. More than 40,000 students participate in the program each year.
Dual enrollment courses are governed by state law (Fla. Statutes 1007.271), which requires school districts and institutions in the Florida College System to enter into articulation agreements that specify the program's operational details. School districts must publicize dual enrollment offerings to students and parents.
Tuition and fees are waived for students in dual enrollment courses. Additionally, text books are provided free of charge to students from public high schools. Most dual enrollment students take one or two college courses per semester. However, in 2008, 322 students earned enough credit to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associate's degree.
To participate in the dual enrollment program, a student must (1) be attending a Florida secondary school or be in a home education program, (2) meet minimum GPA requirements (3.0 to enroll in credit-bearing college courses, 2.0 to enroll in career certificate courses), (3) pass the appropriate section of the college placement test, and (4) meet any additional admission requirements of the postsecondary institution (e.g., successfully completing certain high school classes). Exceptions may be made to these requirements on a case-by-case basis. Students must maintain the required high school GPA (3.0 or 2.0, respectively) in order to retain dual enrollment eligibility.
Institutions with capacity restraints may limit dual enrollment participation accordingly.
Articulation agreements between school districts and state colleges specify the dual enrollment program's operational details. Among other things, they include student eligibility requirements, available courses and programs, procedures and deadlines for enrolling in dual enrollment courses, and cost responsibilities for the district and college. The Florida Department of Education created a model agreement, available here.
Florida law requires school districts to enter into annual articulation agreements with state colleges (which primarily offer two-year degrees, although some offer four-year degrees). Generally, each college enters into agreements with school districts in its surrounding area. While state universities may offer dual enrollment opportunities, they are not required to have articulation agreements with school districts.
Home-schooled students participating in dual enrollment must enter into an articulation agreement with the college. The student's parents must also sign the agreement.
Dual enrollment courses may be offered at the student's high school, a local career education center, or the college's campus. Students can take the courses during or after regular high school hours or during the summer.
In Florida, the most common arrangement is for high school students to attend regularly-scheduled college courses on the college campus, where they sit in class with regular college students. Instructors generally do not know if a student is in the dual enrollment program unless the student volunteers that information.
Courses offered at a high school are taught either by the high school's teachers or by instructors provided by the college. High school teachers who teach dual enrollment courses must meet the college's requirements. Courses offered at a high school campus must be as rigorous as, and meet the same competencies required for, courses taught on the postsecondary institution campus. If the college provides an instructor, the cost of the instructor is borne either by the district or the college, as specified in the articulation agreement.
Generally, any course in Florida's statewide course numbering system (an inventory of courses offered by public and participating nonpublic postsecondary institutions) is eligible for inclusion in the dual enrollment program except for remedial courses and physical education courses. However, a physical education course may be included if it focuses on intellectual attributes rather than physical execution of a skill.
Grades and Course Credit
Grades earned in dual enrollment courses appear on both the student's high school and college transcripts. In calculating a student's overall GPA, his or her high school must give dual enrollment courses the same weight as advanced placement, international baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education courses.
Dual enrollment course credits transfer to any Florida public college or university offering the statewide course number and must be treated as though taken at the receiving institution. However, the application of transfer credit to general education, prerequisite, and degree programs may vary at the receiving institution. Additionally, dual enrollment credits are not guaranteed to transfer to private or out-of-state institutions.
Tuition and fees are waived for students in dual enrollment courses. Additionally, text books are loaned free of charge to dual enrollment students from public high schools. The cost of the books is borne either by the college or the school district, as specified in the articulation agreement.
School districts do not lose funding if their students participate in dual enrollment courses. For funding formula purposes, dual enrollment students are counted as if all of their classes were high school classes. Postsecondary institutions also count dual enrollment students in their fulltime equivalent enrollments, which serve as the basis for a portion of their state funding. However, colleges and universities typically absorb some of the cost for dual enrollment, since they are not permitted to charge these students tuition.
Florida Department of Education: Model Articulation Agreement http://info.fldoe.org/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-6473/hb7059tapc.pdf
Florida Department of Education: Dual Enrollment FAQs http://info.fldoe.org/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-6471/hb7059tapa.pdf