A tidying up for Georgia’s dual enrollment program that state lawmakers passed earlier this year should help rein in costs and tighten what courses high schoolers can claim as college credits, according to a recent state audit.
The popular program allowing Georgia high schoolers to take certain courses that satisfy both high school and college credits has faced criticism in recent years over unsustainable enrollment growth and soaring costs.
In 2018, the state Department of Audits and Accounts found the program had no clear oversight and that few controls were in place to track dual enrollment’s impact on boosting college readiness for Georgia students.
Those problems were addressed in legislation brought by Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta, that passed out of the General Assembly and gained Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature in late April, according to a state audit issued this week.
In particular, the audit highlighted how caps on student enrollment and trimming course offerings to core subjects as required by the bill should help manage costs to keep the program financially afloat.
It also noted the bill hands oversight duties to the Georgia Student Finance Commission, making it easier for the state to track whether the program is meeting its purpose and avoiding excessive spending.
“The General Assembly took significant steps to control dual enrollment costs,” reads the audit.
Changes included limiting dual-enrollment classes at colleges and universities largely to 11th and 12th graders. Tenth graders will only be able to take courses at technical colleges unless they quality for the state’s Zell Miller scholarship.
College credits will be capped at 30 hours per semester for most eligible high schoolers. Those who have completed 19 or more hours by June 30 will be able to take an additional 12 hours.
Courses will also be limited to core subjects like English, math, science, social studies and foreign languages, as well as some career, technical and agricultural education classes.
Students can take extra dual-enrollment courses at their own expense.
The changes took effect on July 1.
Around 60,000 students were funded for the dual enrollment program at a total cost of $100.8 million this past fiscal year, according to the audit.