North Carolina
Accelerated Learning Options in High School


Dual Enrollment and Dual Credit

The Career and College Promise (CCP) program allows high school students to earn college credit and, in many instances, concurrent high school credit. Eligible public, private, and home-schooled students may participate in the CCP program, and are offered three pathway options to choose from. Students interested in the program must contact their high school counselors, be approved by either the counselor or principal, and indicate the pathway and program of study they wish to pursue. The NC General Assembly pays for all tuition charges, although student fees and textbook costs may be paid in a variety of ways, including student self-pay. The table below summarizes the three pathways:










Tuition-free course credits toward an Associate in Arts, Science, Engineering, Nursing, AFA Visual Arts, and a four-year degree. Must complete at least 30 hours.

High school junior or senior standing

3.0 GPA (weighted)

Demonstrate college readiness in English and math

OR meet provisional status. See CCP Pathways

Continue progress toward high school graduation.

Maintain 2.0 GPA after two courses

After two courses, students must adhere to the college’s policy for satisfactory academic progress.

Career and Technical Education

Workforce Continuing Education

OR Career and Technical Education Pathway. Tuition free course credits toward an entry-level job credential

OR certificate or diploma aligned within a career cluster.

High school junior or senior standing

3.0 GPA

Received career pathway completion requirement information

OR Be an eligible freshman or sophomore. See CCP Pathways

Continue progress toward high school graduation.

Maintain 2.0 GPA after two courses

After two courses, students must adhere to the college’s policy for satisfactory academic progress.

Cooperative Innovative High School Program

Located on college campuses. Students complete a high school diploma and an associate degree or up to two years of college credit within five years.

Students grades 9-12 with access to an approved CIHS. Eligibility requirements are established jointly by local boards of trustees in accordance with G.S. 115C-238.50.

Special preference given to first-generation college students.

Eligibility for remaining in CIHSP is established jointly by the local boards of education and local boards of trustees.

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) is working towards broadening access and successful participation in advanced courses. Based on recent legislation, NCDPI has established the NC Advanced Placement Partnership with the College Board to support this work and particularly work with low-performing school districts. Beginning in 2014-15, this legislation further provides funding for all test fees for AP and IB course exams to all public and charter school students. NCDPI also continues to increase access to AP courses through the NC Virtual Public School.

Career and Technical Education

North Carolina has adopted the National Career Clusters Framework. The state offers qualified high school students who maintain a “B” average to begin their two- and four- year college work, tuition free through the CTE program. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction administers the ACT WorkKeys to all 12th graders who have achieved a CTE concentration (four technical credits in a cluster, including one completer course).

Cooperative Education

Cooperative education is offered to students 16 and older whereby technical classroom instruction is combined with directly related paid employment. The paid experience must complement instruction and be completed in the same year in which the course is offered.

Competency-Based Credit

Credit by Demonstrated Mastery (CDM) allows a student to receive high school credit without course enrollment by way of a two-phase assessment process. Phase one consists of a standard examination: either the associated EOC or a final exam developed locally. Phase two is “an artifact which requires the student to apply knowledge and skills relevant to the content standard.” CDM is open to all students, but it is neither designed for whole groups of students, nor is it intended to replace general accelerated pathway options.

Early College High Schools

University of North Carolina System institutions may enter into contracts with local school districts to establish an early college high school. Students attend high school full time but earn credit toward high school diplomas and college degrees. Early college and university officials agree on readiness measures that, when mastered, will allow early college students to take university-level courses.