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Dual enrollment: High school students earning college credits

Alabama’s community colleges are reporting a record surge in high school students taking dual enrollment classes. 

The number is a 65% increase since 2015 – one of the highest jumps in the country. 

More than 27,000 Alabama high school students are taking advantage of dual enrollment, earning college-level credits while still in high school.

Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker shared his excitement about the upward trend.

“Dual enrollment is a great opportunity for high school students to get a head start on training or a four-year degree,” Baker said. “With dual enrollment, some students even graduate with their associate degree from an Alabama community college before graduating from high school.”

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Baker expressed gratitude to state lawmakers for supporting the program’s expansion with their recent approval of a $4.5 million increase in dual enrollment funding. The additional budget brings the total program funding to nearly $30.7 million.

In Alabama, students can begin dual enrollment as early as their ninth-grade summer, pursuing college credits in more than 450 career pathways. The program offers academic transfer classes, STEM courses, and Career and Technical Education courses in fields such as welding, mechatronics, and health care.

Tessa Brown, ACCS Early Programs lead, underscored Baker’s appreciation.

“We are very fortunate to have a Legislature that is very supportive of what we’re doing,” she said. “With dual enrollment, we are the intersection of higher education, secondary education and workforce development.”

The program’s approach also supports those students aiming to transfer to four-year universities or those who aspire to enter the workforce with college credits and professional skills.

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“Our dual enrollment program supports students who plan to transfer to four-year universities or who want to enter the workforce more quickly with college credit and workforce skills,” said Dr. Neil Scott, vice chancellor of Student Success for the ACCS.

“Much of the success of Alabama’s dual enrollment program can be attributed to our ability to remove barriers for students who may not have traditional access to a post-secondary education.”

For information on the dual enrollment program, visit https://www.accs.edu/academics/dual-enrollment/

Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270

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