Dual Credit Program Notifications.
Dual credit programs allow high school students to earn high school and postsecondary credit at the same time. Dual credit programs can be course-based or exam-based. Course-based dual credit programs can be offered at an institution of higher education (for example the Running Start [RS] Program) or at a high school (for example the College in the High School [CHS] Program). Exam-based dual credit programs allow students who complete certain high school courses to have the chance to earn college credit or advanced placement into upper-level college courses by achieving minimum scores on course exams (for example Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Cambridge International).
School districts are required to notify students and their parents or guardians about advanced courses or programs available to students, including dual credit courses or programs. High schools that offer CHS Programs must provide general information about the CHS Program to all students in grades 8 through 12 and to their parents and guardians. In addition, specific information must be included in the high school catalog or equivalent, for example, a description and breakdown of the fees charged to students who choose to enroll in a CHS course to earn both high school and college credit. School districts must provide general information about the RS Program to all students in grades 10 through 12 and their parents and guardians, including information about the opportunity to enroll in the RS Program through online courses available at institutions of higher education.
Running Start Programs.
Program Description. The RS Program allows students in grades 11 and 12 to enroll in college courses at participating institutions of higher education and to simultaneously earn high school and college credit. Students choosing to participate in the RS Program are responsible for applying for admission to a participating institution of higher education.
Students in the RS Program do not pay tuition, but do pay for educational materials, mandatory fees, and transportation costs. Institutions of higher education must make fee waivers available for low-income RS students. The waiver is funded out of each institution's operating budget, not additional state funding. In addition, many RS students receive book loan funds through college foundations.
Funding. Statute directs the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to calculate and allocate moneys appropriated to school districts for RS Program enrollments based upon the estimated statewide annual average per full-time equivalent (FTE) high school student basic education allocations, excluding small high school enhancements. Statute allows school districts to retain 7 percent of this amount to offset RS Program costs and requires school districts to transmit the remainder to the participating institution of higher education based on a statewide uniform FTE college student rate.
The operating budget specifies that students participating in RS Programs may be funded up to a combined maximum enrollment of 1.2 FTE, including school district and institution of higher education enrollment. In calculating the combined 1.2 FTE, the operating budget allows the OSPI to average a RS student's September through June enrollment to account for differences in the start and end dates for courses provided by the high school and institution of higher education.
Reporting. The OSPI, in consultation with the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, the Washington Student Achievement Council, and the Education Research and Data Center, must annually track and report to the Legislature on the combined FTE experience of students participating in RS Programs, including course load analyses at both the high school and community and technical college system.
Summer Pilot Program. In 2020 legislation was enacted that created a two-year RS Summer School Pilot Program (RS Pilot) to evaluate interest in and barriers to expanding the RS Program to include the summer academic term. Three community colleges are participating in the RS Pilot. In addition to students eligible for the RS Program, people who graduated from a participating high school in the current school year and who have five or fewer college credits to earn before meeting associate degree requirements are eligible to earn a maximum of five college credits through the RS Pilot. A report to the Legislature with findings and recommendations regarding the RS Pilot, including recommending whether to expand the RS Program to include the summer term, is required by November 10, 2022.
Dual Credit Program Notifications.
Prior to course scheduling or course registration for the next school term, public schools that serve students in any of grades 9 through 12 must provide students and their parents or legal guardians with information about each available dual credit program and any financial assistance available to reduce dual credit course costs for students and their families, including fee waivers for Running Start (RS) Program courses. The information must be provided via electronic mail and other communication methods and, to the extent feasible, must be translated into the primary language of each parent or legal guardian. Public schools may consolidate this notification with other required dual credit program notifications.
Running Start Program.
Eligibility. High school graduates who have 15 or fewer college credits to earn before meeting associate degree requirements may continue participation in the RS Program and earn up to 15 college credits during the summer academic term following their high school graduation.
Funding. Students participating in RS Programs may be funded up to a combined maximum enrollment of 1.6 full-time equivalents (FTEs), including school district and institution of higher education enrollment. In calculating the combined FTEs, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction must adopt rules to fund a student's enrollment in RS courses provided by the institution of higher education during the summer academic term.
It is declared that the RS Programs as a service delivery model, associated funding levels beyond 1.0 FTE per student, and funding for high school graduates enrolled in RS courses, are not part of the state's statutory program of basic education.
Reporting. The report on the combined FTE experience of students participating in RS Programs must include enrollments by high school and participating institutions of higher education.
Repealer. The RS Summer School Pilot Program is repealed.
(In support) Nearly 70 percent of all jobs in Washington require a postsecondary credential, but overall credential attainment falls short of this. Dual credit courses give students the opportunity to start postsecondary education in high school. These courses correlate with higher rates of postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and attainment. Dual credit courses help to reduce students' postsecondary education debt. Dual credit programs play an important role in the education system, for families, and in the economy of the state.
The state community and technical colleges (CTCs) serve about 32,000 running start (RS) students, 12,000 career and technical education (CTE) dual credit students, and 6,500 college in the high school (CHS) students. The CTCs provide financial assistance to almost a third of the dual credit population. Even with this assistance, financial barriers continue to prevent students who are black, Indigenous, or people of color and students with financial need from accessing these programs. Many students are unable to afford to participate in dual credit courses, even with the support that colleges provide. This bill is a great start towards making these courses more affordable by covering fees, textbooks, and materials for RS courses, decreasing tuition for CHS courses, and covers transcript fees for career and technical education dual credit courses. This bill will make a difference for low-income students in accessing dual credit courses.
State support should follow students taking dual credit courses at institutions of higher education, including at private not-for-profit colleges and universities. In Eastern Washington, two private institutions account for half of the four-year institutions offering CHS. Setting up dual credit programs requires resources for teacher training, professional development, and student success supports. This bill has the potential to allow students to be able to take advantage of dual credit programs while encouraging more higher education campuses to offer and expand these programs.
Eliminating existing scholarships for materials required for apprenticeships and CTE classes is concerning. In addition to covering transcript fees for CTE classes, transcript fees for CHS should also be covered. Information about how to obtain transcripts for dual credit courses should be provided to all students' families.
Many students do not know about dual credit programs. The bill expands access by requiring that school districts translate dual credit information into families' primary languages. Notification requirements should include notification about a school district's automatic enrollment policy, which school districts were required to adopt in the 2019 academic acceleration law. The bill repeals the incentive program, which enabled 50 districts to adopt academic acceleration policies before 2019, and now that adoption of these policies is required, the funding can be used for other purposes.
This bill increases participation in RS Summer School Pilot Program (RS Pilot), which began in summer 2021. During the RS Pilot at one CTC, 142 students from five school districts enrolled in 202 classes. These students passed 93 percent of those courses. There was a 1 percent gain in nonwhite students participating in summer compared to the prior academic year. In addition, 94 percent of these students enrolled in the fall quarter, and this is a record persistence rate.
The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, in partnership with the Council of Presidents, have submitted amendments that provide additional language in the areas of funding, eligibility, and updated terminology. This bill helps to reduce student costs and close opportunity gaps and will have an impact on the state's economy. The bill will help students make course decisions based on career aspirations, rather than what they can afford.
(In support) This bill will increase funding to offset out-of-pocket expenses for dual enrollment courses, which will in turn increase dual credit access for students. Costs to participate in dual enrollment courses include textbooks and fees, which are a burden and barrier for many students. This bill would eliminate out-of-pocket costs and lead to more equitable access for students. This will result in students accruing more college credits in high school and will help families and students save money and time in higher education institutions.
Dual credit enrollment is a great opportunity that helps students achieve postsecondary credentials. Currently, a school could have two students who both receive high school credit for a dual enrollment course, but the student with financial means is able to pay the fees to receive college credit while the other student cannot. This bill expands opportunities for students to receive college credit in their dual credit courses and is an important step towards a more equitable system.
This bill positively impacts student success and ensures equitable access to dual enrollment credits for all students. This is a critical pathway for students to attend college and keep their overall college debt lower. Providing funding for this bill is an inexpensive way for students to work towards their college education.
(Other) The bill will lead to many positive outcomes, but there are concerns regarding the cap on college in the high school (CHS) per credit course fees at $42.50. This will lead to lost revenues to some of the institutions that currently participate in the CHS program, with no guarantee that the institutions would be made whole by the state. Many institutions are currently offering the program at cost and do not receive additional state or tuition funding to support the program.