Program Specific FAQ documents
Most Commonly Asked Questions about Dual Credit
+ What is “dual credit”?
Students who take a class, either in the high school, skill center or at a college, which has the potential to earn high school and college credit, are considered to be enrolled in a “dual credit” class.
- Some courses (Career and Technical Education [CTE] Dual Credit, College in the High School and Running Start) allow students to earn college credit through completing the course.
- Other courses (Advanced Placement [AP], Cambridge International [CI] and International Baccalaureate [IB]) give students the potential to earn college credit through passing a standard exam or series of exams.
+ Why is dual credit a school quality and student success (SQSS) measure for Washington’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)?
As of 2018, roughly 2/3 of all jobs require some post-high school education or training. Research shows that taking dual credit courses is related to higher high school grades and graduation rates, and increases in college enrollment and degree completion. Dual credit may also help students gain academic skills needed for success in college and can provide students with confidence that they are ready for college.
Shapiro, D., Dundar, A., Wakhungu, P. K., Yuan, X., Nathan, A., & Hwang, Y. (2016). Time to degree: A national view of the time enrolled and elapsed for associate and bachelor’s degree earners (Signature Report No. 11). Retrieved from National Student Clearinghouse, Research Center website: https://nscresearchcenter.org/signaturereport11/
+ How do I know which dual credit option is a good fit for my future/my child?
Regarding student readiness:
- Taking rigorous coursework in an area of interest and/or skill can increase a student’s success.
- Taking dual credit courses that have exams (AP/IB/CI) gives students a chance to try a college preparatory course and either not take the exam or not send the score if s/he doesn’t want to.
- There is more potential for earning actual college credit, and also some risk, with Running Start and College in the High School since the student actually starts an official college transcript by taking college courses.
- There is also potential for future impacts on federal and state financial aid for students who start earning college credits as early as 10th grade. See the Running Start FAQ for more information.
Regarding transfer of college credits or exam scores:
- The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) maintains a document that compares program information, costs, and other variances between the different dual credit programs.
- The WSAC Dual Credit Lookup Tool allows students to compare how their AP/IB exam scores will transfer in to any of Washington’s 2/4-year colleges.
- The Washington 45 is a list of college courses that students can take via Running Start or possibly College in the High School that are the most likely courses to transfer into any public 2/4-year college in Washington.
- Each college maintains its own webpage dedicated to “transfer credit”, which is the term most colleges use when referring to “dual credit”. Going directly to the college where the student wants to enroll will guarantee the most accurate information.
+ What resources are available to help students with the costs associated with taking dual credit courses?
(see the Resources link on the OSPI Dual Credit webpage for more information)
While most federal and state-funded resources are available to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, students should always ask their counselor if there are any other school or community based resources that can help.
For all dual credit programs, schools annually receive Academic Acceleration Incentive Program funds based on the previous year’s dual credit course enrollment. These funds can be used to help students with the costs any dual credit program.
For college preparatory courses with exams (AP/IB/CI):
- Washington’s test fee program provides funding each year to reduce the cost of AP/IB/CI exams for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
- Schools can also use Federal Title IV funds to help with test fees.
For concurrent enrollment courses through College in the High School (CHS):
- Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch and are enrolled in qualifying high schools that have applied for state-funded subsidies (using iGrant #732, due July 1 annually) can get 5-10 college credits covered by subsidies.
For concurrent enrollment courses through Running Start:
- Colleges must make available fee waivers for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
- Many colleges also provide assistance with books for low-income students.
+ How and when do I enroll in Running Start?
Running Start is unique because it takes place on a college campus (except in cases where a student is doing college courses on-line). Ideally, students will enroll beginning with the fall term so as to maximize eligibility. Depending upon the college and high school’s process, enrollment for the fall quarter/semester can begin as early as February of the same calendar year. Interested sophomores and juniors should begin asking for information by January of the same year in which they want to enroll in Running Start.
Interested students should start by meeting with their high school counselor. The high school counselor will help the student determine:
- if Running Start fits with the student’s interests, skill level and High School and Beyond Plan,
- what courses the student can take that will meet high school graduation requirements,
- what the eligibility, orientation and registration processes entail, and
- what, if any, resources may be available to help with the costs of fees, books and transportation.
At any time, interested students can also go to the college’s website, type Running Start into the search box, and explore what the college’s eligibility, orientation and enrollment processes entail.
+ Why the increased statewide focus on Dual Credit?
Research shows that two-thirds of all jobs necessitate some level of post-high school training or education, and that taking dual credit in high school can lead to higher graduation rates, increased college enrollment and degree completion, and higher student college-going self-confidence.
+ Which students are counted in Washington’s ESSA data?
- Students who take any dual credit course at some point during the school year.
- Students who take a dual credit course but do not earn a passing grade.
- Students who take a dual credit course but do not choose to take the exam.
- Students who take a dual credit course but do not choose to earn the college credit.
+ I’m concerned my data isn’t correct. What can I do?
OSPI’s data comes from CEDARS and what you report using your Student Information System.
When you look at your dual credit data it will include all students who completed a dual credit course as identified with the course designator tied to the dual credit program (see OSPIs Transcript Manual for description). One thing to look out for is if all course designators are coded correctly. With CTE Dual Credit in particular, the “T” course designator is used only if there is a current articulation agreement in place with a sponsoring college.