Legislative and Policy Changes
In 2007, the Arkansas Board of Higher Education adopted a new concurrent enrollment policy requiring colleges and universities that offer college credit courses at local high schools to be accredited by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP). The University of Arkansas at Monticello earned accreditation in 2008, followed by nine additional Arkansas colleges and universities in 2009. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) has continued to monitor the state’s concurrent programs to ensure colleges and universities are adhering to the policy. In the summer of 2009, Jim Purcell, Director of ADHE, created two committees to review concurrent enrollment in Arkansas. The Policy Issues/Recommendations Committee, comprised of college/university presidents and chancellors, will review concurrent enrollment’s purpose and goals, quality standards and accountability measures, delivery methods, funding, and service areas. The committee will present its recommendations to the Arkansas Board of Higher Education in spring 2010. The second committee, comprised of college administrators across the state, was formed to discuss implementation of the policies created by the Policy Issues/Recommendations committee.
Working towards Governor Ritter’s 2006 “Colorado Promise” to double the number of college degrees and certificates earned by Colorado students, the Colorado State Legislature passed in May 2009 the Concurrent Enrollment Programs Act. House Bill 09-1319 , repealed three earlier acts regarding concurrent enrollment and created a unified law to expand access to concurrent enrollment programs and to improve levels of coordination for these programs statewide. The new law allows students in grades 9 through 12 to enroll in courses at institutions of higher education and to apply the earned credits toward high school graduation. Only 12th graders may enroll in basic skills courses.
Major changes are in the funding structure and in the required agreements between school districts and institutions of higher education. The school district and the institution of higher education must enter into a cooperative agreement for the student’s enrollment. This agreement must state that the high school will pay the student’s tuition. The student or his or her parent or guardian must agree to reimburse the school district if the student fails to complete the college course. The bill also created the Accelerating Students Through Concurrent Enrollment program (ASCENT), to provide opportunities for students to potentially earn an Associate’s degree while still in high school. Under ASCENT, school districts will provide funding for students who have completed 12 college credit hours by the end of their senior year to enroll full-time in concurrent enrollment courses as 5th year seniors.
The Indiana General Assembly first encouraged the establishment of dual credit programs with the 1987 Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act. This act required school corporations to set policies and develop agreements with postsecondary institutions to award dual credit to students. Revisions in 2005 eliminated the requirement for the student to receive permission from the school corporation to enroll. In 2006 two new acts were passed by the Indiana legislature: the Double Up for College Act(IC 21-43-5) and the College Preparation Curriculum Act. The Double Up for College Act set standards designed to ensure rigorous course work for students in concurrent enrollment courses and standards for faculty teaching those classes. The College Preparation Curriculum Act mandated that all high schools offer at least two dual credit courses for qualifying students. In 2009, the Indiana Department of Education set a goal of at least 25% of all high school graduates receiving the at least 3 semester credit hours of college credit during their high school years, a score of 3, 4, or 5 on at least one Advanced Placement exam, or a score of 4 or higher on an International Baccalaureate exam.
Senior Year Plus, was established in May 2008 when the Iowa Legislature consolidated and standardized existing concurrent enrollment programs. The goals of the legislation were increased access to programs allowing high school students to earn college credit and consistent expectations for students, teachers, parents, schools and postsecondary institutions. The act established a new Postsecondary Course Audit Committee, created expanded supplemental weighting for school districts, changed the weighted funding for concurrent enrollment and career and technical classes, and established criteria for student, teacher and institution participation. In response, the Postsecondary Course Audit Committee adopted NACEP’s Standards as the basis for concurrent enrollment quality assurance. The 15 community college Presidents and Chief Academic Officers have committed to pursuing NACEP accreditation to fulfill the Legislature’s goal of ensuring quality concurrent enrollment programs. The Iowa Department of Education has published a guide to implementing Senior Year Plus.