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Dual Enrollment, Dual Credit, Concurrent Enrollment and Joint Enrollment

A number of different terms describe programs that allow high school students to earn college credit. And states and organizations define them in different ways. SREB staff compiled these definitions for its Dual Enrollment Advisory Panel. September 2019

Dual enrollment

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges: Courses taught to high school students for which the students receive both high school credit and college credit. Includes early college, dual credit and concurrent enrollment.

New England Commission of Higher Education: Programs allowing high school students to enroll in courses for which college credit is offered; also known as concurrent enrollment programs or dual credit programs.

U.S. Department of Education: High school students earning college credits for courses taken through a postsecondary institution; includes dual credit, concurrent enrollment, or joint enrollment. Credit for courses may be earned at both the high school and college level simultaneously or only at the college level.

Federal Acts – Every Student Succeeds Act and Perkins V: A dual- or concurrent -enrollment program is offered by a partnership between at least one institution of higher education and at least one local educational agency through which a secondary school student who has not graduated from high school is able to enroll in one or more postsecondary courses and earn postsecondary credit that: (a) is transferable to the institutions of higher education in partnership and (b) applies toward completion of a degree or recognized educational credential as described in HEA 1965.

Arkansas: A high school student’s enrollment in postsecondary coursework for college credit only.

Kentucky: A student is enrolled in a high school and postsecondary institution simultaneously.

Tennessee: A program that allows a student to enroll in postsecondary courses for high school and postsecondary credit.

Dual credit

Higher Learning Commission: Courses taught to high school students for which students receive both high school credit and college credit.

Kentucky: A student receives credit from both the high school and postsecondary institution in which the student is enrolled upon completion of a single class or designated program of study.

Tennessee: A postsecondary course taught in a high school by certified secondary instructors… and which prepares a secondary student to sit for a dual credit challenge exam; students who pass the challenge exams earn college credit accepted by all Tennessee public and private non-profit postsecondary institutions.

Concurrent enrollment

National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships: The subset of dual enrollment courses taught by college-approved high school teachers.

Arkansas: Enrollment of a high school student in a college course taught on a high school campus (or, in selected cases, on the college campus or by distance/digital technology) for both high school credit and college-level credit.

Kentucky: A dual credit course taught by a college-approved high school or area technology center teacher at the secondary school during the regular school day.

Joint enrollment

Tennessee: An arrangement between a high school and a postsecondary institution wherein a student enrolls in postsecondary classes while attending high school. The student receives credit from only one of the two institutions.

Publication September 2019 | 5 pages

Dual Enrollment Legislation in SREB States, 2019

This report summarizes 2019 legislation related to dual enrollment by state. It also displays dual enrollment bills by these themes: access, faculty, financial aid, funding and cost, programs and agreements, students and student services student services, transferability, and workforce or career and technical education


Publication Dave SpenceNovember 20138 pages

State Policies to Support a Statewide College- and Career-Readiness Agenda
Essential Elements of State Policy for College Completion

A statewide college- and career-readiness agenda signals clearly and universally what knowledge and learning skills or readiness standards are essential for students to succeed in a substantial majority of postsecondary education programs. The standards need to be reinforced by a series of additional steps that include assessment, supplemental course work, and school accountability. SREB’s College- and Career-Readiness Action Agenda includes five essential components across the educational pipeline: 1. Adopt statewide readiness standards. 2. Assess high school juniors for readiness. 3. Offer transitional readiness courses for juniors assessed as underprepared. 4. Apply the standards in college placement. 5. Hold schools accountable.


Publication Megan RootJanuary 20138 pages

Transitional Courses for College and Career Readiness
Essential Elements of State Policy for College Completion

Offering high school courses to prepare underprepared students for success in college or career training after graduation is a key strategy to reduce remediation, increase postsecondary completion and provide greater access to making a living wage. This Essential Elements policy brief details efforts in states across the nation, outlines questions policymakers need to address, and recommends 12 essential elements for an effective statewide policy to implement transitional courses.


Publication July 9, 2016 | 7 pages | (16V18)Gene Bottoms and Kirsten Sundell

Career Pathways
Accelerating Access to the Middle Class

More and more jobs require some education past high school, yet we are not preparing enough students for college, careers or both. Career pathways from middle and high school through college and into the workplace can accelerate access to the middle class.


School Is My Happy Place
Educator Effectiveness Spotlight

Happy staff. Hardworking students. Supportive parents.

School culture matters. It affects teachers’ morale and instruction,  parent engagement, and students’ behavior and learning. Developing and sustaining a positive school culture is hard — but one Florida elementary school has a lot of creative ideas for making it work.