Students earning college credit in high school saves over $34 million in tuition

Since 1985, Utah has provided an opportunity for high school juniors and seniors to take college courses while in high school. Through the Concurrent Enrollment program, students earn both high school credit for graduation and college credit corresponding to the first year at a college or university in the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE).

According to the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, over 1.4 million students earn dual credit in high school. Utah has one of the longest-running programs in the country.

Student participation

In 2015-16, 29,758 students participated in concurrent enrollment – over ⅓ of all high school juniors and seniors in Utah. Concurrent enrollment credit is earned by students in all 41 school districts as well as 30 charter and alternative high schools. The average credit earned per students was 6.9 credits – approximately 2 courses per students. 54% of students participating in concurrent enrollment are female – consistent with past year enrollments.

College credit awarded

In 2015-16, participating students earned a total 204,423 semester credits, a 3% increase over 2014-15. Over ⅔ of the credit earned fulfilled general education requirements for college graduation – credit transferable among all eight USHE institutions.

Cost savings to students

Concurrent enrollment provides a significant cost-savings opportunity for high school students in Utah who go on to attend a USHE institution. It is estimated that Utah high school students would have paid $34.8 million in tuition for the 204,423 credit hours awarded in 2015-16. This amounts to anywhere between $1,300 to $13,500 in saved tuition per student (depending on variables such as credits earned, status after graduation, and college enrollment). In recent years, the state legislature has allowed a small fee that a USHE institution may charge students.  However, even with a small fee, concurrent enrollment serves as a significant scholarship opportunity for Utah high school students.

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Course delivery methods

83% of Concurrent Enrollment credits are earned via courses taught in high schools with adjunct faculty, with 14% of the courses taught via technology.

College credit providers

Overall, almost ¾ of concurrent enrollment credit is provided by three USHE institutions: Weber State University (25%) and Utah Valley University (25%) and Salt Lake Community College (23%).

Additional detail on Concurrent Enrollment is available in the 2015-16 Concurrent Enrollment Summary Report.