With a record number of high school students participating in dual enrollment classes with the Alabama Community College System (ACCS), leaders of the state’s community colleges gathered in Birmingham today to discuss plans to boost student success.
More than 27,000 Alabama high school students use dual enrollment to earn college-level credit at one of the state’s community colleges while still attending high school. That’s a 65 percent increase in the number of dual enrollment students at Alabama community colleges since 2015. The increase is among the largest enrollment increases in the nation.
“Dual enrollment is a great opportunity for high school students to get a head start on training or a four-year degree. With dual enrollment, some students even graduate with their associate degree from an Alabama community college before graduating from high school,” said ACCS Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker. “We’re fortunate that Alabama is among the nation’s leaders in dual enrollment, and that continued support from legislators gives us an opportunity to extend this benefit to even more young people.”
The Legislature approved a $4.5 million increase in dual enrollment funding in the legislative session that ended earlier this month, bringing the program to nearly $30.7 million in total funding.
“We are very fortunate to have a Legislature that is very supportive of what we’re doing. With dual enrollment, we are the intersection of higher education, secondary education and workforce development. Right there in the middle of that is the one intersection where taxpayer dollars are being used for students earning college credit, graduation requirements, and they’re also improving the quality of life for all Alabama citizens because we’re making sure that everybody is upskilled to their fullest potential,” said Tessa Brown, the ACCS Assistant Director for Strategic Enrollment Management – Early Programs.
In Alabama, students may begin dual enrollment as early as the summer of their ninth grade year and can start earning college credit in more than 450 career pathways.
Dual enrollment courses include academic transfer classes for students who want to go to a community college for two years and then transfer to a four-year college or university, STEM courses in science, technology and math, and Career and Technical Education courses such as welding, mechatronics and health care.
“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.”
The meeting was held on the campus of Jefferson State Community College. Students and parents wanting more information about the dual enrollment program can visit: https://www.accs.edu/academics/dual-enrollment/.