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.