DUAL ENROLLMENT

NEW MEXICO

As a result of the passage of legislation over the last five years, New Mexico has created one of the most supportive policy environments in the country for dual enrollment programming. Together, Senate Bill 943 and Senate Bill 31 create the New Mexico Dual Credit Program. Dual credit allows high school students to enroll in college-level courses offered by a public postsecondary institution or tribal college (that may be academic or career-technical) while simultaneously earning credit toward high school graduation and a postsecondary degree or certificate.

The passage of SB943 resulted in New Mexico’s first statewide dual-credit program authorized in statute and supported by the state. The legislation was amended by SB31 in 2008 to expand the program to include state-supported schools, in addition to school districts and charter schools. And in 2010, the legislation was amended yet again to include federal Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) high schools and tribal colleges. The Public Education Department and the Higher Education Department form a collaborative entity—the Dual Credit Council—to support the implementation of high-quality dual-credit programs across the state.

College courses eligible for dual credit must be congruent with the partnering postsecondary institution's academic standards. School districts offering dual credit opportunities for high school students are required to sign a master agreement with a public postsecondary institution for submission to the state's Department of Education. The agreement must specify eligible courses, academic quality of dual-credit courses, course approval, and course requirements. In addition, the postsecondary partner must approve faculty for all dual-credit courses and provide counseling and tutoring services to dual-credit students to ensure success in college courses.

Costs for dual-credit programs are distributed amongst all stakeholders: Secondary schools cover textbooks and course supplies; students pay for any course fees and transportation; and colleges and universities waive tuition and general fees. The state then reimburses secondary and postsecondary expenses associated with offering dual-credit course to high school students.   

Student demand to participate in the Dual Credit Program continues to increase. From an estimated enrollment of 6,000 to 7,000 New Mexico high school students, during SY2007-08, enrollment in SY2009-10 grew to almost 11,000 with nearly 20 percent of those students taking two or more classes.

 

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.

In Evidence

Eligibility to enroll in dual-credit courses must be approved by both the secondary and postsecondary institutions as defined through a master agreement between the institutions.

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.

In Evidence

Student eligibility for individual course requirements is defined in a uniform master agreement signed by secondary and postsecondary institutions that partner in dual-credit programs.

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

In Evidence

School districts should employ a method of qualifying the student for dual credit based on factors which may include academic or performance reviews, the use of next step plans, assessments, or advisement and career guidance.

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

Students in dual-credit programs are allowed to earn both high school and postsecondary credit upon successfully completing college-level courses.

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

In Evidence

College courses eligible for dual credit must meet the rigor for postsecondary institution credit and be congruent with the postsecondary institution's academic standards. School districts offering dual credit opportunities for high school students must sign a master agreement with a public postsecondary institution for submission to the state's Department of Education. The agreement must specify eligible courses, academic quality of dual credit courses, course approval, and course requirements.

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

In Evidence

The postsecondary partner must approve faculty for all dual-credit courses.

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.

In Evidence

SB943 states, “The higher education department shall revise procedures in the higher education funding formula to address enrollments in dual-credit courses and to encourage institutions to waive tuition for high school students taking those courses.” In addition, New Mexico Administrative Code 21-13-19 states that dual-credit students attending community colleges are to be “defined by the higher education department in the same manner in which the department defines full-time equivalent students for all other college-level programs within its jurisdiction.”

On the secondary side, high schools are reimbursed by the state for dual-credit costs related to purchasing textbooks and course supplies.

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

In Evidence

Postsecondary institutions are required to waive tuition and all general fees for dual-credit students so that high school students can earn college credits tuition free.

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

Not in Evidence

High schools are responsible for the cost of textbooks and materials associated with college course taking in dual-credit programs. However, students may be responsible for other fees (e.g., lab fees) and transportation 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.

In Evidence

New Mexico has a Dual Credit Advisory Group that consists of staff of the Public Education Department and the Higher Education Department. The council is charged with issuing recommendations to the cabinet secretaries of both departments regarding dual- credit issues outside of the scope of the master agreement set in place by state policy.

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

In Evidence

As of 2011, the state requires secondary and postsecondary education departments to partner to issue an annual comprehensive report on dual-credit participation and performance.  

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.

In Evidence

New Mexico’s Public Education Department data system can distinguish and track-dual credit participation and performance, including enrollment data disaggregated by students’ race and ethnicity.   

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.

In Evidence

High schools and higher education institutions must sign a master agreement in order to develop dual-credit programs. These agreements require secondary and postsecondary partners to inform students of course requirement information, including course content, grading policy, attendance requirements, performance standards, and other related course information. In addition, state policy requires that postsecondary institutions provide counseling and tutoring services to dual-credit students to ensure success in college courses.

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

Though policy does not provide for a dual-credit liaison, it does stipulate that postsecondary institutions are to provide support services such as counseling, tutoring, advisement, and special services for students with disabilities.

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