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December 26--  State Senator Jack Hill of Reidsville explores Dual Enrollment in his "Notes From the Senate" column.

DUAL ENROLLMENT FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

The Dual Enrollment program covers the full tuition cost for students who wish to pursue higher education while still in high school. Students can attend any University System of Georgia (USG) institution, any Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) institution, or any eligible participating private institution such as Wesleyan College or Brewton-Parker College. Like the HOPE scholarship, the program is administered by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC).

College and universities can only charge what Dual Enrollment will pay and private colleges are limited to a maximum of $250 per semester credit hour and $187 per quarter credit hour. However, there are some circumstances, such as a lab class, where students may be responsible for paying class specific fees.

In the Dual Enrollment program, the college credits that students earn can also fulfill their high school graduation requirements. Students can still graduate from high school on time and start their post-secondary education careers ahead. Dual Enrollment is not only open to public high school students but also to Georgia students attending a private high school or an eligible home study program.

DUAL ENROLLMENT HAS GROWN QUICKLY

The Dual Enrollment program started in its current form in Fiscal Year 2016. Prior to this, there were several different dual enrollment programs based on whether a student was attending a private college, USG institution, or a technical college, and if they were full-time or part-time. Some of the programs were funded with Lottery Proceeds whereas now the program is supported by the State General Fund. Another difference is that under some of the previous programs when a student left the high school campus to go to the college, the local school district would lose the portion of state funds for that student while they were away.

FY 2018- 43,654 STUDENTS

Since the program was redesigned in FY2016, the number of students participating in Dual Enrollment has increased statewide. In FY2016, there were 27,510 students statewide who participated in Dual Enrollment but by FY2018, this increased to 43,654 students. In just two years the number of Dual Enrollment students increased by 58.7%. The overall Dual Enrollment program disbursed $48.6 million in FY2016 increasing to $86.3 million in FY2018, a 77.4% increase.

A LIMIT ON HOURS IN THE FUTURE?

Part of what drove the cost of the program to increase faster than student enrollment is that Dual Enrollment students have been taking more credit hours and the cost of attending USG institutions increased in FY2018. Another trend that has emerged in Dual Enrollment is that enrollment at private institutions has grown faster than USG or TCSG institutions. Even though Dual Enrollment payments to private institutions are capped, it is still more expensive than most USG and all TCSG institutions.

DUAL ENROLLMENT IN SENATE DISTRICT FOUR

The Fourth Senatorial District includes all or a portion of Bulloch, Candler, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, and Tattnall Counties. High school students in these counties have several options where they can participate in Dual Enrollment through TCSG and USG institutions. There are no private colleges in the Fourth District but Brewton- Parker College is close by.

1201 STUDENTS ENROLLED IN THE FOURTH

In FY2018 there were 1,201 students in the Fourth District who participated in Dual Enrollment, which is up from 782 students in FY2016. In FY2018, students in the Fourth District earned a total of $2,220,592 in Dual Enrollment funds. This is a large increase from FY2016 when students in the Fourth District earned $1,380,227.

FY2018 Dual Enrollment Students and Funds by County:

Bulloch County                  521 Students / $971,287

Candler County                  105 Students / $150,569

Effingham County            224 Students / $604,837

Emanuel County               142 Students / $219,100

Evans County                     91 Students / $112,045

Tattnall County                  118 Students / $162,754

TOTAL                               1201 Students

DUAL ENROLLMENT A BOOST TO LOCAL COLLEGES

There are three higher education institutions primarily located within the Fourth District; East Georgia State College in Emanuel County, Georgia Southern University in Bulloch County, and Ogeechee Technical College in Bulloch and Evans Counties. The colleges invoice GSFC for the Dual Enrollment students that they teach each term and GSFC reimburses the college. In FY2018 East Georgia State College received $662,787; Georgia Southern University received $945,310; and Ogeechee Technical College received $434,142.

At a time when more and more jobs require some sort of certification beyond high school, Dual Enrollment provides a way for high school students to get a jump start towards a bachelors or associates degree, or earn certificates and diplomas in a highly skilled career field.

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