Remote Dual Credit: Key Components and Best Practices

Best Practices / Research / State Policy /

Jennifer Zinth
Zinth Consulting, LLC
August 2022

Extensive research documents the student benefits of dual enrollment participation, particularly for students historically underrepresented in higher education. Yet traditional face-to-face dual credit programs can experience a myriad of challenges impacting course availability and student access. These include:

  • A shortage of credentialed dual credit teachers: Recent modifications to regional postsecondary accreditors’ credentialing requirements for dual credit teachers – including in the 19 states in the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) region and the 11 states in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) region – are exacerbating a shortfall of high school teachers credentialed to teach college courses. While efforts are underway in many states to increase the number of credentialed dual credit instructors, a dearth of approved instructors can constrain dual credit course availability, particularly in rural and urban communities that struggle to recruit and retain dual credit- credentialed teachers.
  • Small high schools: Small high schools employ fewer teachers, resulting in a smaller pool of potential dual credit teachers.
  • Insufficient students to fill a course section: While small high schools are more likely to lack a sufficient number of students to fill a course section, even larger high schools may be unable to fill courses that fewer students are interested in. High schools of all sizes may struggle to fill a course section if they lack a sufficient number of students who meet program eligibility requirements and course prerequisites.
  • Transportation and other logistical challenges: Although rural high school students face unique challenges in traveling to and from their nearest college campus, students in urban and suburban areas may also face dual enrollment participation barriers if they lack transportation, or if family, work, or other obligations preclude them from traveling to the college campus. Free- and reduced-price lunch-eligible students who lose access to meals while away from their high school may also be disinclined to dually enroll at the college campus.
  • Access to instructional, non-instructional K-12 supports: Students may be averse to traveling to the college campus if it results in reduced access to instructional and non- instructional supports offered at their high school. Such academic supports might include special education services, English language learner instruction, or tutoring. Non- instructional supports could comprise counseling, health services, or mental health.