Concurrent Enrollment legislation will better assist students to college success

HB 182, Concurrent Enrollment Education Amendments, co-sponsored by Rep. Val Peterson and Sen. Ann Millner improves the administration of concurrent enrollment (CE) courses statewide, streamlines the enrollment process, and will better inform students of how concurrent enrollment courses can best help them pursue their postsecondary goals.

Already one of the most robust programs in the country, CE courses are a partnership between K-12 and public higher education in Utah, first established in 1985. These courses allow students to earn college credit while still in high school, for a fraction of the tuition of a traditional college student enrolled in the same course at a USHE institution. One-third of Utah’s high school juniors and seniors enroll in at least one concurrent enrollment course (over 28,00 students), saving them over $32 million in tuition. The state’s CE program is one of the best opportunities to help prepare students for college success after high school graduation.

HB 182 Highlights:

Electronic parent-permission form

All students must have parental permission to register for a CE course to ensure a student’s parent/guardian is aware that college credit is being earned and a different set of policies and processes are part of the course. Historically, the forms were administered by local high schools and districts, creating an administrative burden that is better managed at the state level. Starting in Spring 2017, an electronic parent/guardian permission form will be available for all students who participate in a CE course.

Minimum teacher qualifications for CE Math courses

Almost half of all students enrolled in a CE course are taking math. As with traditional college math courses, CE math courses can be some of the most challenging faculty positions to keep filled. College math courses are part of all student general education course requirements, and are also courses that requires some of the most highly trained instructors. HB 182 clarifies that teachers who have an upper level math endorsement may teach CE math courses, ensuring consistent policy at all USHE institutions.

Increased transparency and coordination of courses

While coordination between higher education institutions and local districts and high schools have significantly improved in recent years, HB 182 codifies the process to ensure ongoing consistency. For example, policies relating to course approval, academic criteria and transferability of earned credit will be more clearly implemented statewide.

Improved reporting

The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) and the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) have jointly published annual data updates on CE courses. An annual report will now be jointly published to include annual estimated savings in tuition for the credits earned in CE, the fees collected as allowed by statute, and how state-appropriated CE funds were distributed to K-12 and higher education.
It is anticipated these improvements to the state’s concurrent enrollment program will even further assist students to become successful in college, especially low-income students who are twice as likely to enroll in college when successfully completing a CE course in high school.

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Trisha Dugovic
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