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Students enrolled in secondary school (called high school in the United States) may be dual enrolled at a local institution of higher learning, such as a community college or university. These students may take classes at either institution for credit toward their high school diploma, as well as for college credit. Many state governments within the United States have recognized the benefit of dual enrollment and have consequently instructed their public universities to begin collaborating with local schools. Some private universities also participate.

Dual enrollment in both secondary school and college is advantageous to students because it allows them to get a head start on their college careers. In some cases, the student may even be able to attain an Associate of Arts or equivalent degree shortly before or after one's high school graduation. Furthermore, it may ease the transition from high school to college.

In addition, dual enrollment is seen by parents as a money saving strategy that avoids skyrocketing tuition costs because courses are paid for and taken through the local high school. State government officials also see dual enrollment as a net savings due to the lower present value of funds spent earlier, as opposed to those spent later. Public school costs are also lower than they would be at postsecondary institutions.

One form of dual enrollment is concurrent enrollment. Concurrent enrollment is defined as credit hours earned when a high school student is taking a college course for both high school and college credit, during the high school day, on the high school campus, taught by a qualified high school instructor. One of the first such Concurrent Enrollment programs is Syracuse University Project Advance. Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) serves as a model and resource for many subsequent colleges as they develop their own concurrent enrollment programs.

SUPA is a founding member of The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) which is a professional organization for college and high school partnerships offering college courses in high schools. Formally established in 1999 in response to the dramatic increase in concurrent enrollment courses throughout the country, NACEP serves as a national accrediting body for concurrent enrollment programs and supports members by providing standards of excellence, opportunities to network and share best practices, and access to information about research and national trends in dual and concurrent enrollment. NACEP standards for accreditation have been recognized as models for quality control and have been adopted or adapted by many states.

There is much discussion concerning possible downsides of dual enrollment, including the lack of college preparedness for high school students - even Freshman - taking college-level courses at their local high schools, and out-of-field teacher qualification problems for those high school teachers given preference for teaching DE or AP classes. Debate continues, as educational policy experts watch how DE cohorts perform after high school graduation in terms of degree completion and persistence rates, especially among minorities.

The expansion of postsecondary education downward into the high schools, as opposed to upward expansion through the addition of more and more advanced degrees, is seen by some as an example of credential inflation, since it, too, extends the length of time students typically spend pursuing degrees. In addition, it is felt that such educational expansion undermines the separation between secondary and postsecondary education, which took one-hundred years to put in place in the US. 
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review by . January 23, 2011
   As a homeschooling family, we have opted to have our high-school age children dual enroll at our local community colleges.  While some homeschooling families might consider this a non-option (since it is public school), our feelings are different.  If a child shows the maturity necessary and feels up to the challenge, why not let them get a head start on college?  Our eldest daughter finished her Japanese studies at city college, and also completed a drawing course and …
review by . February 05, 2010
Dual Enrollment is one of the best opportunities for homeschoolers with high school students
Every college has different rules and different names for dual enrollment programs but they are prevalent throughout the nation. Some colleges offer several hours of tuition free classes and cut the fees of dual enrolled students. Dual enrollment can usually start after the student has completed the 10th grade. The students are allowed to take entry level classes without an ACT score as long as they aren’t math or science related. Homeschoolers get several added bonuses. As the principal of …
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