Dual Enrollment: What Local Senates Need to Know

Educational Policies Committee Chair
ASCCC Treasurer

With the passage of AB288 (Holden, 2015), many colleges have begun to explore the use of dual enrollment on their campuses.  Due to the nature of dual enrollment programs, academic senates need to be familiar with these programs and prepared to be involved with their creation and promulgation. 

In very basic terms, dual enrollment or concurrent enrollment occurs when, under provisions of the California Education Code, K-12 students are permitted to take college classes as special admission students.  While several nuanced versions of this practice exist, the most common type of dual enrollment involves K-12 students taking a college class offered on a K-12 campus, typically during the school day. This partnership should have a formal agreement between the two institutions, although such an agreement is not legally required. The other common form of dual enrollment involves the K-12 student enrolled in a college class as a student. This type of student enrollment can be accomplished through a formal partnership or by individual K-12 students registering and enrolling as special admission college students.

Dual enrollment has existed for many years, with some fairly specific requirements that both the K-12 institution and the college must fulfill. Following legal challenges in the early 2000s, many community college districts discontinued their dual enrollment arrangements and have remained hesitant to enter into new ones.  This situation may change with the passage in 2015 of AB288, which allows districts to establish an optional dual enrollment program, called College and Career Access Pathways or CCAP, that operates under new rules spelled out in the legislation. While the new law creates an entirely new option, nothing requires a college to exercise the option. Likewise, nothing prevents a college from enacting the provision and eliminating its current dual enrollment program, thereby in effect moving the existing program into the new provisions.  However, colleges must choose one of the two options – continuing their current programs, or moving fully under the requirements of AB288—as colleges cannot pick and choose elements of the new legislation.

This new law essentially models what started as a one-time exception made for one district (Long Beach City College) that allows the college district and local K-12 school to create dual enrollment opportunities that do not require open access to the public. Parts of the new regulations parallel the existing dual enrollment requirements and others are completely new. Similar to the existing provisions in Education Code for dual enrollment, this new law has numerous implementation nuances.  Moreover, some of the nuances have not been completely clarified at the policy levels; as a result, the Department of Education and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office may need to implement additional regulatory changes as well as develop a variety of guidelines.

Unlike the existing requirements, this new law requires a formal agreement between the institutions. It also makes very clear that both institutions can only collect FTES and ADA apportionment as long as they are not duplicating “the same instructional activity.” This provision will essentially mean that a college course offered under the new CCAP may not directly repeat an existing school class. It will also mean that both institutions will need to meet their respective apportionment requirements with the exception of providing open access.

Colleges without dual enrollment programs who are also not meeting their growth targets might consider these new provisions. Colleges can begin by engaging in the development of academic pathways while building partnership rapport with their respective K-12 partners. Those colleges that currently have dual enrollment offerings should work closely with their academic senates, K-12 partners, and the CCC Chancellor’s Office to help implement this new and exciting option for students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who develops dual enrollment agreements and how often should they be updated?

Community college faculty must be the central component in the development and maintenance of dual enrollment courses since they are college classes. This statement does not mean that other stakeholders are not critical to the success of these partnerships. The K-12 faculty and administrators from both systems need to be active participants to ensure that all institutions remain compliant with all requirements.

The initiation of any program requires both immediate and regular review and evaluation.  As the program continues, only unusual circumstances will be likely to require immediate attention, and the program could easily follow the same timeline as the college’s regular program review processes.  Program review, creation, and discontinuance are academic and professional matters, and as such the academic senate should be engaged in the conversation regarding dual enrollment programs and serving the needs of the community.

Are dual enrollment classes an academic and professional matter?

Yes.  This conclusion is not debatable. Title 5 §51023.3 and §§53200-53205 are perfectly clear that curriculum and program development are strictly academic and professional matters as a minimum condition for apportionment.

What are the minimum qualifications to teach a dual enrollment class?

The minimum qualifications to teach any college class, credit or noncredit, are found in both law and regulation (Education Code §§87350-87360 and Title 5 §§53400-53430 respectively.) The requirements to meet minimum qualifications are the same as for any California community college course.

How do students fulfill college and degree requirements with dual enrollment, credit by examination and articulation?

Dual enrollment classes are regular college courses and therefore meet college and degree requirements without additional exams or certification.

Is the credit on a student transcript for a dual enrollment class different from other college credit?

No. A dual enrollment class is a college class. The credit listed cannot be differentiated from any other credit contained in the student’s transcript. As a result, students must be allowed the same options allowed in any college course.

Can dual enrollment classes be basic skills classes?

The provisions for dual enrollment are generally silent on the type of courses to be offered, so they can be specifically tailored to meet remedial needs. The new CCAP does address specific requirements for basic skills dual enrollment courses, including that the agreement must include processes to certify that the students in remedial classes need the remediation to be successful in college.

What type of counseling and other student services should be provided for dual enrollment students?

The new CCAP does not require provision of these services for high school students, nor does it require the high school students to submit a Student Education Plan; however, students who graduate from high school and then enter a community college will be required to do so.  Because dual enrollment offerings are usually not more than a few courses, the structural pathway is typically not difficult to establish. However, the means by which students can receive tutoring, counseling, academic advising, library service, and all other services specific to those courses must be agreed upon in advance.