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Florida bill could expand state’s dual enrollment program for high schoolers

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(The Center Square) — A new bill was filed Thursday by a Florida lawmaker that will change requirements for district school boards regarding dual enrollment for students.

Senate Bill 626 is sponsored by state Sen. Corey Simon, R-Quincy. It requires district boards to enter into a dual enrollment agreement with a local Florida College System institution that can accommodate in-person or online dual enrollment courses for students seeking to earn college credits while still enrolled in high school.

According to the Education Commissioner of the States, 48 states have state-level dual enrollment policies, and 28 states have established multiple dual enrollment programs using state policy. Twenty-one states have two programs, five states have established three programs, and two states have established four programs.

A further 27 states, which includes Florida, are required to notify both parents and students of at least one dual enrollment program and 41 states have specified student eligibility criteria through state policy.

In the Sunshine State, there are currently 33 postsecondary institutions that have dual enrollment programs spread across the state, according to the Florida Department of Education.

Florida programs have statewide student eligibility requirements, which state that a student can participate in dual enrollment courses between grades 6 through 12 if the student has demonstrated a level of achievement of college-level communication and computer skills, as well as a 3.0 unweighted grade point average.

Alabama and Georgia differ slightly from Florida in their dual enrollment programs. Alabama does not require all high schools to participate and student eligibility criteria are from grades 10 through to grade 12 and includes written approval from a principal, while institutions have specific entrance requirements.

Alabama’s dual enrollment programs are also only available in public institutions, whereas Florida allows both private and public institutions to provide such programs.

The Peach State allows dual enrollments in both public and private institutions and like Alabama, does not require all school districts to be enrolled.

In comparison to California and Texas — two of the top three most populated states in the nation — California does not have any state policy in place as to whether a school district must participate, and according to the Education Commission, “Community colleges can restrict the admission of special part-time students based on age or grade level.” Students must also gain a recommendation from their principal.

Texas students must undertake an assessment demonstrating college readiness, and the program is available for private and public institutions.

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