DUAL ENROLLMENT

NEW JERSEY

In 2009, New Jersey statute charged the Commissioner of the Department of Education, the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and the President’s Council with the task of establishing a program to provide courses for college credit to high school students. New Jersey’s dual enrollment programs intend to increase access to postsecondary education for the state’s high school students.

While New Jersey has some conditions and unique grant opportunities to support partnerships between schools and colleges offering dual credit opportunities, the current policies do not adequately ensure the quality of such partnerships or enable their sustainability. In addition, cost barriers for students and the lack of state provisions for academic and social support services may pose barriers for low-income youth and first-time college goers to participate in the state’s dual enrollment programs.

In addition to establishing a brief set of broad guidelines for dual enrollment programs, the Commission on Higher Education awarded Dual Enrollment Incentive Grants to fund dual enrollment programs at postsecondary institutions, with an average award of $20,000 per program. There are 10 dual enrollment programs at New Jersey colleges and universities. The Dual Enrollment Initiative Grant program is funded by a three-year federal grant. Funds for each grant may cover up to 50 percent of the program cost, including tuition reimbursement for students with demonstrated financial need. Fifty percent of the funding must come from partnership institutions, or through need-sensitive tuition revenues. The purpose of the program is to support dual enrollment expansion throughout the state and to develop a sustainable funding environment to grow participation in college course-taking opportunities for New Jersey students.

 

Policies

States should broaden eligibility requirements to permit students to participate in credit-bearing, college-level courses based on proficiency in those subjects even if they are not proficient in others. Student eligibility should also be jointly determined by secondary and postsecondary and use multiple measures: a combination of tests, end-of-course grades, teacher recommendations, and students’ work portfolios.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility requirements are determined by the secondary and postsecondary sectors together.

Not in Evidence

Postsecondary institutions determine eligibility requirements for concurrent enrollment programs.

POLICY ELEMENT: High school students can participate in college courses based on their proficiency in those subjects, even if they are not proficient in others.

Not in Evidence

Students have to meet college admission standards for non remedial courses in all subject areas. More specifically, high school students need to meet minimum standards for state system institutions based upon scores on the ACT/SAT or a high school GPA of 3.0/4.0 and class rank.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility is determined by a combination of tests, end-of-course grades, teacher recommendations, and student academic work.

In Evidence

Eligibility criteria provide multiple ways for students to become eligible for dual enrollment. For example, if students are unable to meet the minimum score on the ACT/SAT, they can still qualify for concurrent enrollment based on GPA and class rank.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility requirements are determined by the secondary and postsecondary sectors together.

Not in Evidence

Local school district boards of education determine eligibility requirements for dual enrollment.

POLICY ELEMENT: High school students can participate in college courses based on their proficiency in those subjects, even if they are not proficient in others.

Not in Evidence

No New Jersey state policy addresses this element.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility is determined by a combination of tests, end-of-course grades, teacher recommendations, and student academic work.

Not in Evidence

New Jersey has not established a specific method for determining students’ readiness to enroll in college courses.

States should ensure that college courses offered to high school students use the same syllabi and exams as comparable courses taught on a college campus, and that dual enrollees can receive dual-credit so they earn both high school and college credits upon successfully completing courses. In addition, the postsecondary institution conferring credit should set the qualifications for faculty teaching dual-credit courses.

POLICY ELEMENT: Students have the opportunity to take college courses for dual credit so they earn both high school and college credits upon successfully completing courses.

In Evidence

Credits earned in college courses taken by dual enrollment students are counted at both the secondary and postsecondary institutions.

POLICY ELEMENT: College courses offered within secondary schools use the same syllabi and exams as comparable courses taught on a college campus.

Not in Evidence

Although courses taken for dual credit should be equivalent to courses offered to traditional students on a postsecondary campus, no state statute requires the use of common curricula or assessments in dual enrollment programs.

POLICY ELEMENT: The postsecondary institution conferring credit sets the qualifications for faculty teaching courses taken for dual credit.

In Evidence

“District boards of education and partner colleges shall ensure that college courses for high school students are taught by college faculty with academic rank. Adjunct faculty and members of the district staff who have a minimum of a master’s degree may also be included,” according to state statute.

States should develop funding policies that allow high school students to take college courses free of tuition and non-course-related charges, and that allow both districts and postsecondary institutions to claim per-pupil funding allocations to support the cost of offering college courses for dual-credit. There should also be provisions or special appropriations to support the development of early college schools targeting students who are underrepresented in higher education.

POLICY ELEMENT: Funding policies to support concurrent enrollment in the state create incentives for school districts to partner with institutions of higher education to offer dual credit opportunities for students.

Not in Evidence

A school district receives full funding for dual enrollment students who take courses on the high school campus. The school also receives full funding for students who take courses on a postsecondary campus, as long as they earn credits toward high school graduation. State policy does not address postsecondary institutions’ reimbursement processes.

For programs funded through the Dual Enrollment Incentive Grant, “50 percent of the funding must come from partnership institutions, or through need-sensitive tuition revenues.”

POLICY ELEMENT: Funding policies for dual enrollment support access for low-income high school students who are interested in taking college courses.

In Evidence

Procedures must ensure that the inability to pay does not keep any academically eligible student from participating. In addition, funding through Dual Enrollment Incentive Grants can be used to reimburse tuition for low-income students.

POLICY ELEMENT: Funding streams are flexible enough that funds can be used for professional development, books, lab fees, and student transportation.

In Evidence

Funding through Dual Enrollment Incentive Grants may be used to offset the costs of textbooks for low-income students, but school districts are not required to use funds to pay these costs.

States should report annually on dual enrollment participation and impact and develop administrative structures to support program leaders and dual enrollment partnerships. States should also designate a state board or governing body as having the authority and responsibility to guide dual enrollment policy.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should designate a state board or governing body as having the authority and responsibility to guide dual enrollment policy, and develop administrative structures to support program leaders and dual enrollment partners.

Not in Evidence

Though the Commissioner of Education and the Commission on Higher Education are charged with establishing state policy, it is unclear if a state-level administrative structure exists to support statewide dual enrollment program implementation.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should report annually on dual enrollment participation and impact.

Not in Evidence

New Jersey does not require the collection or annual reporting of dual enrollment participation.

States should develop unit-record statewide data systems that identify dual enrollees by demographic characteristics and monitor student progress longitudinally across the K-12 and higher education systems.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should develop unit-record statewide data systems that identify dual enrollees by demographic characteristics and monitor student progress longitudinally across the K-12 and higher education systems.

Not in Evidence

The state’s data systems do not have the capability to identify or track dual enrollment students across P-12 and higher education systems.

States should require that districts and postsecondary institutions specify and document key roles and responsibilities in memoranda of understanding or cooperative agreements, including the provision of a college liaison for student advisement and support. States should also provide support and funding for programs designed to serve students who are over-age and undercredited, as well as youth who have dropped out of high school.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should require that districts and postsecondary institutions specify and document key roles and responsibilities in memoranda of understanding or cooperative agreements.

Not in Evidence

New Jersey does not require high schools and postsecondary institutions to take on specific roles in dual enrollment programs.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should require each dual enrollment partnership to provide a liaison between high school and college partners, with responsibilities for advising students, assisting with course scheduling, and linking students to support services.

In Evidence

Partnerships are not required to provide a liaison, nor does New Jersey support them in doing so.

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