Are Your Dual Enrollment Policies and Practices Compliant?
As high schools update curriculum guides and prepare for scheduling, it is important that administrators review their Dual Enrollment policies and practices given the new dual enrollment laws that took effect July 1, 2012 that expanded options for high school students to dual enroll, clarified eligibility requirements, limited the number of dual enrollment courses taken by students, changed the calculation for tuition payment, and clarified requirements for communication of eligibility to students. It is recommended that you visit the MDE website and review the FAQ to make sure you are compliant with the Dual Enrollment legislation. In addition, MASSP has highlighted key changes below.
In past years, dual enrollment was limited to students in grades 11 or higher. Now, eligible students in grades 9 or higher may participate in dual enrollment. To be considered an eligible student for dual enrollment in an area tested by the MME or a college readiness assessment (i.e., EXPLORE or PLAN), the student must achieve a qualifying score as defined in the table included in the FAQ. However, all students in grade 9-12 are eligible in non-tested areas and, pursuant to administrative rule R 388.155, a district may elect to allow any student to dual enroll if the district determines that it is in the best interest of the pupil.
The new law clarifies an “eligible course” by definition as one that is credit bearing at the postsecondary institution and applies toward satisfaction of the institution’s degree requirement. It also maintains that courses that are considered hobby, craft, recreational or a course that is in the areas of physical education, theology, divinity, or religious education, are not eligible for tuition support.
Dual Enrollment Course Limits
The new law caps the total number of eligible postsecondary courses a student may take in high school at ten with the following parameters:
- A student who first enrolls in a postsecondary course in grade 9 is limited to two courses in his/her first, second, and third academic year and not more than four courses during the student's fourth academic year.
- A student who first enrolls in a postsecondary course in grade 10 is limited to two courses during his/her first academic year and not more than four courses during their third and fourth academic years.
- A student who first enrolls in a course when the eligible student is in grade 11 or 12, is limited to six courses during either of those academic years and may not exceed the maximum of 10 courses over two years.
The law does allow for a waiver of any of these limits on an individual student basis if mutually agreed upon in writing between the school district and the eligible post-secondary institution.
Schools are new responsible for paying up to the prorated percentage of the statewide pupil weighted average foundation allowance ($7209 for FY 2012-13), rather than paying based on the school district's foundation allowance. As in the past, a student who fails to complete a district paid postsecondary course is responsible to repay the district the fees/tuition not refunded by the postsecondary institution. The new law, goes further to clarify that the refund provisions also apply when a student does not successfully complete a course taken exclusively for postsecondary credit.
The new law provides dual enrollment opportunities to homeschooled students and students in state approved non-public schools. The eligibility requirements mirror those for public schools. However, rather than the homeschool household or nonpublic school paying the students tuition to the postsecondary institution, the Michigan Department of Treasury will pay the nonpublic school student’s tuition for postsecondary courses.
By March 1 of each school year, school districts are legally required to provide general information about postsecondary enrollment opportunities such as Advanced Placement (AP), dual enrollment, early and middle college high schools, career and technical preparation enrollment options, etc., to all students in grade 8 or higher. To assist schools in this effort, the MDE has developed an informational brochure for schools and parents. This brochure is available in two formats and can be found on the MDE high school web site at www.mi.gov/highschool.
In addition to the general information that can be provided through brochures, course guides, etc., districts are also required to send all students in grades 9 through 12 who have taken the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) or other state approved readiness assessment (i.e, EXPLORE and PLAN), regardless of score, a letter, signed by the student’s principal, indicating eligibility to dual enroll. Given that any student in grades 9-12 is eligible to dual enroll in non-tested areas, it is permissible to send a letter to all high school students to fulfill this requirement. Click on this sample letter to view a draft letter written by the MDE that you can use to fulfill this communication requirement.