Since 1985, Utah has provided an opportunity for prepared high school juniors and seniors to take college courses while still in high school. Through the Concurrent Enrollment program, students earn both high school credit for graduation and college credit corresponding to the first year at a college or university in the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE).
In 2012-13 (most recent data available), 27,444 students participated in concurrent enrollment – over ⅓ of all high school juniors and seniors in Utah. Concurrent enrollment credit is earned by students in all public school districts and 145 charter and alternative high schools. Salt Lake Community College administers the largest program, and in fact, has one of the largest single-institutions programs in the country.
In 2012-13, participating students registered in 66,119 classes. Students earned 189,417 semester credit hours. Approximately ⅔ of the credit earned was general education credit – credit transferable among all eight USHE institutions. The top enrolling class is English 1010, followed by Math 1050.
Major Cost Savings to Students
Concurrent enrollment provides a significant cost savings opportunity for high school students in Utah who attend a USHE institution. It is estimated that Utah high school students would have paid $27.7 million in tuition for the 189,417 credits hours awarded in 2012-13. This amounts to anywhere between a $1,300 to $13,500 saved per student (depending on other variables such as credits earned, status after graduation, and college enrollment). Compare that with the average tuition and fees for two semesters at a USHE institution enrolled at 15 credits each – $9,708. In recent years, the state legislature has allowed a small fee, up to $30/credit hour, that a USHE institution can charge students. However, even with such a small fee, concurrent enrollment essentially serves as a major scholarship opportunity for Utah students.
USHE institutions employ a variety of technologies to deliver concurrent enrollment courses. Weber State University’s and Salt Lake Community College’s programs are almost exclusively face-to-face instruction in the high school – the two institutions that enroll over 52% of concurrent enrollment students. In addition, roughly one-third of the credits earned through Utah Valley University and Utah State University and half of the credits earned at Snow College are faculty-taught via interactive video through the Utah Education Network. Over one third of Dixie State University concurrent-earned credit involves high school students coming on campus for instruction. Finally, Southern Utah University delivers concurrent enrollment courses online.
For the 2014-15 academic year, in response to changes in the secondary math curriculum, Math 1010 has been aligned to College Prep Math CE. This course is an option for students who did not perform strongly or retain the concepts in Secondary High School Math I,II, and III and need additional math before taking Math 1030/1040/1050. Math 1010 earns college credit but, with very few exceptions, DOES NOT count towards the math requirements of a degree or certificate. These course adjustments are intended to clarify any confusion of concurrent enrollment Math 1010 and its intended benefit to high school students.
A recent report provides more in-depth analysis and data relating to concurrent enrollment in Utah. For students/parents seeking additional information contact your local school counselor or Cyd Grua, USHE Concurrent Enrollment Director.