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Introduction

This report provides descriptive national data on the prevalence and characteristics of dual enrollment programs at postsecondary institutions in the United States. For this survey, dual enrollment refers to high school students earning college credits for courses taken through a postsecondary institution. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) previously collected data on dual enrollment and dual credit for the 2002–03 academic year from postsecondary institutions and high schools (Kleiner and Lewis 2005; Waits, Setzer, and Lewis 2005). To gather current data on dual enrollment and dual credit, NCES fielded an updated survey of postsecondary institutions on dual enrollment and a complementary survey of high schools on dual credit.1 The study presented in this report collected information for the 2010–11 academic year from postsecondary institutions on the enrollment of high school students in college-level courses within and outside of dual enrollment programs, and dual enrollment program characteristics.2 Respondents were provided the following definitions of these terms in the instructions section of the survey:

  • Within a "dual enrollment program" is defined as within an organized system with special guidelines that allows high school students to take college-level courses. The guidelines might have to do with entrance or eligibility requirements, funding, limits on coursetaking, and so on. This includes early and middle college high schools as well as other types of dual enrollment programs.
  • Outside a "dual enrollment program" is defined as high school students who simply enroll in credit courses through your institution, and are treated as regular college students.

The survey covered the following:

  • Whether the institution reported that any high school students took courses for college credit during the 12-month 2010–11 academic year;
  • Whether the institution reported that any high school students took courses for college credit outside of a dual enrollment program during the 12-month 2010–11 academic year, and if so, the total number of high school students who took courses outside of a dual enrollment program;
  • Whether the institution reported that any high school students took courses for college credit within a dual enrollment program during the 12-month 2010–11 academic year, and if so, the total number of high school students who took courses within the dual enrollment program(s);
  • Whether courses taught within the dual enrollment program(s) were taught on the college campus, high school campus, some other location, or through distance education;
  • Whether courses within the dual enrollment programs taught on the high school campus were taught by college or high school instructors;
  • High school instructors' minimum qualifications for teaching courses within the dual enrollment program(s);
  • The typical pattern of high school course enrollments per academic term within the dual enrollment program(s);
  • The maximum number of courses per academic term a high school student was allowed to take as part of the dual enrollment program(s);
  • When credit was awarded (immediately upon completion of courses, upon enrolling at the institution after high school graduation, or another time) for courses taken within the dual enrollment program(s);
  • Which grade levels of high school students were eligible to take college-level courses within the dual enrollment program(s);
  • The types of academic eligibility requirements for high school students to participate in the dual enrollment program(s);
  • Whether the academic eligibility requirements for high school students to participate in the dual enrollment program(s) were the same or different than the institution's admission standards for regular college students;
  • Whether the curriculum for the college-level courses taken by high school students within the dual enrollment program(s) was specially designed for high school students or the same as for regular college students;
  • Whether the institution discounted the rate of tuition for high school students taking courses within the dual enrollment programs;
  • Which sources paid tuition for courses taken within the dual enrollment program(s);
  • The types of expenses generally paid for out of pocket by students and their parents for courses taken within the dual enrollment program(s);
  • Whether the institution awarded certificates, associate's or bachelor's degrees to high school students within the dual enrollment program(s) during the 12-month 2010–11 academic year;
  • Whether the institution had a comprehensive dual enrollment program during the 12-month 2010–11 academic year in which high school students took all or most of their courses;3
  • Whether the institution had a dual enrollment program geared specifically toward high school students at risk of educational failure during the 12-month 2010–11 academic year, and if so, the number of high school students enrolled in the program;
  • The typical pattern of enrollments per academic term within the dual enrollment program geared specifically toward high school students at risk of educational failure; and
  • The extra support services offered to students in the dual enrollment program geared specifically toward at-risk high school students.

NCES, part of the Institute of Education Sciences, conducted this survey in fall 2011 using the Postsecondary Education Quick Information System (PEQIS). PEQIS is a survey system designed to collect small amounts of issue-oriented data from a nationally representative sample of institutions with minimal burden on respondents and within a relatively short period of time. Questionnaires were mailed to approximately 1,650 public and private Title IV eligible, degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.4 The unweighted survey response rate was 93 percent and the weighted response rate using the initial base weights was 94 percent. The survey weights were adjusted for questionnaire nonresponse and the data were then weighted to yield national estimates that represent all 2-year and 4-year Title IV eligible degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States. Tables of standard error estimates are provided in appendix A. Detailed information about the survey methodology is provided in appendix B, and the questionnaire can be found in appendix C.

Because the purpose of this report is to introduce new NCES data from this survey through the presentation of tables containing descriptive information, only selected findings are presented. These findings have been chosen to demonstrate the range of information available from the PEQIS dual enrollment study rather than to discuss all of the data collected; they are not meant to emphasize any particular issue. The findings are based on self-reported data from postsecondary institutions.


1 For results from the dual credit survey of high schools, see Dual Credit and Exam-Based Courses in U.S. Public High Schools: 2010–11 (NCES 2013-001), forthcoming.
2 The 12-month 2010–11 academic year was defined for respondents as including courses during summer 2010 or summer 2011, depending upon how records were kept at their institution.
3 The following explanation of comprehensive dual enrollment programs was included in the survey: Students are generally enrolled in these comprehensive programs for one or more years. Examples include early college and middle college high schools, as well as other dual enrollment programs in which high school students took all or most of their courses.
4 Institutions participating in Title IV federal student financial aid programs (such as Pell grants or Stafford loans) are accredited by an agency or organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, have a program of more than 300 clock hours or 8 credit hours, have been in business for at least 2 years, and have a signed Program Participation Agreement with the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), U.S. Department of Education. Degree-granting institutions are those that offer an associate's, bachelor's, master's, doctor's, or first-professional degree (Knapp et al. 2001).

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education