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Home » Student Success » Support Programs » Dual Credit Programs

Dual Credit Programs

CHS Course Catalog Update

Passed in 2021, HB 1302 requires high schools that offer CHS programs to include the following information about CHS courses in their 2022-23 (and later) course catalogs:

  • There is no fee for students to enroll in a CHS course for only HS (not college) credit.
  • A description and breakdown of the fees charged to students to earn college credit.
  • A description of fee payment and financial assistance options available to students.
  • A notification that paying for the college credit automatically starts an official college transcript.

For more details and/or exact language, please consult House Bill 1302 

Contact Information

Tim McClain
Dual Credit Program Supervisor

Dual Credit provides students with the potential to earn high school and college credit at the same time. Dual credit options can be course or exam-based. These options include Advanced Placement (AP), Cambridge International (CI), International Baccalaureate (IB) courses with exams, Running Start, College in the High School (CHS), and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Dual Credit. These tests or courses may result in college course credit. 

Why dual credit? In today's world, two-thirds of all jobs require some post-high school training or education. Taking dual credit is connected to higher high school graduation rates, college enrollment, and degree completion.

Consolidated Equity and Sustainability Dual Credit Grant

In 2021, OSPI established a new, competitive Consolidated Equity and Sustainability (CES) grant (form package 154) to support dual credit students with a focus on eliminating equity gaps. This new grant combined the CHS Subsidy (form package 732) and Building Equitable, Sustainable Dual Credit grant (form package 983 & 103) to reduce duplicative work for all, while also expanding access to oppotunities to better serve underrepresented students in dual credit. For more details log into EDS or check out the Consolidated Equity and Sustainability (CES) Dual Credit Grant Package.

The application process for 2021-2022 CES grant funding concluded in August 2021. Subject to the funds appropriated by the legislature and influenced by system needs subsequent to pending legislation, the 2022-2023 CES grant will be overhauled in the spring of 2022 with the goal of releasing applications by early-summer.

1. Colleges may now bill the district per credit tuition fees after the 10-day count of the course rather than waiting until the completion of the course. The college should be submitting actual invoices rather than enrollment counts used in the past.

2. Colleges may now choose how much is appropriate to charge, not exceeding the state determined maximum, rather than automatically being reimbursed at the max rate.

3. High Schools and districts can now determine which grades they want to provide for. Previously only 11th and 12th graders qualified (CHS is now open to students 9-12 grades).

4. There is no longer a per-student cap. Previously students were limited to 10 or 5 credits depending on which tier the school qualified for.

Exam-Based Dual Credit

Exam based dual credit allows a student to take an exam (AP, IB, or CI) and apply to receive college credit with a score of 3 or better (for AP), a score of 4 or better (IB), and E or better (CI).

Course-Based Dual Credit 

In course based dual credit (concurrent enrollment), a student enrolls in a class that has the potential to earn both high school and college credit. Course based dual credit classes can be offered at the college (Running Start) or at the high school (College in the High School and Career and Technical Education).

Program Specific FAQ Documents

Dual Credit FAQs

Students who take a class, either in the high school, skill center or at a college, which has the potential to earn high school and college credit, are considered to be enrolled in a “dual credit” class.

  • Some courses (Career and Technical Education [CTE] Dual Credit, College in the High School and Running Start) allow students to earn college credit through completing the course.
  • Other courses (Advanced Placement [AP], Cambridge International [CI] and International Baccalaureate [IB]) give students the potential to earn college credit through passing a standard exam or series of exams.

Regarding student readiness:

  • Taking rigorous coursework in an area of interest and/or skill can increase a student’s success.
  • Taking dual credit courses that have exams (AP/IB/CI) gives students a chance to try a college preparatory course and either not take the exam or not send the score if s/he doesn’t want to.
  • There is more potential for earning actual college credit, and also some risk, with Running Start and College in the High School since the student actually starts an official college transcript by taking college courses.
    • There is also potential for future impacts on federal and state financial aid for students who start earning college credits as early as 10th grade. See the Running Start FAQ for more information.

Regarding transfer of college credits or exam scores:

  • The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) maintains a document that compares program information, costs, and other variances between the different dual credit programs.
  • The WSAC Dual Credit Lookup Tool allows students to compare how their AP/IB exam scores will transfer in to any of Washington’s 2/4-year colleges.
  • The Washington State Council of Presidents has developed resources to help inform families and students about dual credit.
  • The Washington 45 is a list of college courses that students can take via Running Start or possibly College in the High School that are the most likely courses to transfer into any public 2/4-year college in Washington.
  • Each college maintains its own webpage dedicated to “transfer credit”, which is the term most colleges use when referring to “dual credit”. Going directly to the college where the student wants to enroll will guarantee the most accurate information.

(see the Resources link on the OSPI Dual Credit webpage for more information)

While most federal and state-funded resources are available to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, students should always ask their counselor if there are any other school or community based resources that can help.

For all dual credit programs, schools annually receive Academic Acceleration Incentive Program funds based on the previous year’s dual credit course enrollment. These funds can be used to help students with the costs any dual credit program.

For college preparatory courses with exams (AP/IB/CI):

  • Washington’s test fee program provides funding each year to reduce the cost of AP/IB/CI exams for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
  • Schools can also use Federal Title IV funds to help with test fees.

For concurrent enrollment courses through College in the High School (CHS):

  • Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch and are enrolled in qualifying high schools that have applied for state-funded subsidies (using iGrant #732, due July 1 annually) can get 5-10 college credits covered by subsidies.

For concurrent enrollment courses through Running Start:

  • Colleges must make available fee waivers for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
  • Many colleges also provide assistance with books for low-income students.

Running Start is unique because it takes place on a college campus (except in cases where a student is doing college courses on-line). Ideally, students will enroll beginning with the fall term so as to maximize eligibility. Depending upon the college and high school’s process, enrollment for the fall quarter/semester can begin as early as February of the same calendar year. Interested sophomores and juniors should begin asking for information by January of the same year in which they want to enroll in Running Start.

Interested students should start by meeting with their high school counselor. The high school counselor will help the student determine:

  1. if Running Start fits with the student’s interests, skill level and High School and Beyond Plan,
  2. what courses the student can take that will meet high school graduation requirements,
  3. what the eligibility, orientation and registration processes entail, and
  4. what, if any, resources may be available to help with the costs of fees, books and transportation.

At any time, interested students can also go to the college’s website, type Running Start into the search box, and explore what the college’s eligibility, orientation and enrollment processes entail.


Regardless of your level of interest in Dual Credit, you can find the resources to answer any of your questions below.

Dual Credit System Improvement Guide Updated August 2018

Use the materials on this webpage to learn more about different dual credit programs and/or inform others about these opportunities.

Communications from OSPI

Advanced Placement

Cambridge International

International Baccalaureate

Washington College Access Network

Washington Student Achievement Council

Federal-Level Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

ESSA Webinar Video | Presentation | Spanish Presentation

  • Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the reauthorization of the federal government's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
  • ESSA will be fully operational in the 2018-19 school year.
  • Read the Approved ESSA Consolidated Plan

Excerpts from the ESSA Consolidated Plan on Dual Credit

Our ESSA plan addresses opportunity gaps in the education system, and it works to promote equitable access and opportunity for all Washington students. Our responsibility as educators is to prepare every student - regardless of background, household income, or race/ethnicity - for post‐secondary aspirations, careers, and life. That means looking closely at a more comprehensive set of student success variables that go beyond standardized tests: chronic absenteeism, ninth‐grade class failure, and dual credit opportunities.

Washington will include these three measures serve as indicator of school quality or student success (SQSS). Each measure was subject to extensive review and feedback from stakeholders. These measures are currently a part of Washington's performance management system for the purpose of reducing opportunity gaps and increasing equity in the K-12 system and are displayed on OSPIs website (OSPI Performance Indicators).

Dual Credit Participation: Washington will derive a measure of dual credit participation, as measured by the percentage of all enrolled students (grades 9-12) who complete a dual credit course. This includes Advanced Placement, Cambridge International, International Baccalaureate, College in the High School, CTE Dual Credit (formerly Tech Prep), and Running Start.

State-Level Legislation

College in the High School

Running Start

Conversion of College Credit to High School Credit (or "Postsecondary Credit Conversion")

Data Sources - Start by gathering information

OSPI's Dual Credit Data

Rubric/Assessment Tool - Start an improvement process with system analysis

OSPI's Dual Credit System Improvement Guide

This dual credit specific resource guides building/district staff through a four-step system improvement process:

  • Explore Dual Credit - what are the benefits of increasing equitable access to dual credit opportunities?
  • Data Dive - using the OSPI Dual Credit Data, guided questions help staff understand the data
  • Self-Assessment - use the provided rubric to do some reflection on what is working well and where improvement is needed
  • Action Planning - use the provided template to set some SMART goals and determine a plan moving forward that increases equitable access to dual credit

Strategies & Interventions for Increasing Success in Dual Credit Courses


  • Having good attendance is key to ensuring success in dual credit courses.
  • Addressing attendance problems, which are often a symptom of larger problems, is a crucial strategy for increasing students' potential for success in advanced coursework.
    See OSPIs Attendance webpage for more information and resources.

Family or Relationships

  • Students coming from homes in which they experience trauma, abuse, or neglect, or from parents who have had negative school experiences may need additional supports to be successful in college-level coursework.
  • Parental expectations may not always match a student's academic interests and/or skill level, and students may need additional support in how to handle this.
    • Important considerations for any student include academic preparation, interest/relevance of course and connection to High School and Beyond Plan.
  • Cultural expectations
    • Will the student miss class to attend cultural events or care for family members?
    • Does the student have other responsibilities, like maintaining a job?
    • Does the family support the student's post-high school goals?
    • Students may need help problem-solving situations like those listed in the questions above.

Student Engagement

  • Ensuring a positive transition from Middle to High School is a key strategy to increasing more students' readiness for advanced coursework and dual credit later in high school.
    See OSPIs 9th Grade on Track webpage for more information and resources.
  • Students often need to feel that instruction is relevant to their lives or goals and may need help developing a High School and Beyond Plan that has meaning to them.
    See OSPIs High School and Beyond Plan webpage for more information and resources.

Research & Related Reports

Advanced Placement

College in the High School

Early College High Schools: Model Policy Components by Jennifer Zinth; Education Commission of the States

  • Research suggests early college high school participants are significantly more likely than other disadvantaged students to graduate high school, enroll in college immediately after high school and earn a degree.

CTE Dual Credit

US Dept. of Ed. 2017 Report "Connecting Secondary Career and Technical Education Students and Apprenticeship Programs"

  • Five of the eight programs profiled in this report, including Washington's own Puget Sound Skills Center Construction Center for Excellence, describe CTE-based programs where both college and high school credit are offered. Education Week "Should Schools Test the 'Career' Half of 'College and Career'?" by Sarah Sparks, July 10, 2017 edition (link to document)

Dual Credit & College/Career Readiness

Partner Agencies

For Building & District Leaders

Dual Credit is a strategy that states’ and districts are using to ensure all students graduate high school ready to succeed in college, additional training, and/or a career. Dual credit programs provide high school students with the potential to earn college credit for courses and/or exams they complete while in high school.

Partner Resources

Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC)
State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC)
Council of Presidents (Washington's Six Public Baccalaureates)

Dual Credit Contact Information for WA Public Baccalaureate Institutions

Career Bridge and CareerOneStop - resources for career exploration

Other Programs Allowing Dual Credit Through College Enrollment

Gateway to College

Students, aged 16-21, who have dropped out of school, or are in the danger of dropping out, may qualify for this program to simultaneously accumulate high school and college credits, earning their high school diploma while progressing toward a certificate or associate degree.

Career Link

Designed for 16-21-year old’s who have dropped out of high school or are on the verge of dropping out and are interested in returning to school and completing their high school diploma. The target population is low-income youth, first-generation college goers, students of color, and other young people underrepresented in higher education.

Technical College Direct Funded Enrollment Programs

Provides students the opportunity to simultaneously accumulate high school and college credits, earning a high school diploma while progressing toward an associate's degree or certificate. Students have access to most of the training programs and support services at any of the three participating colleges:

Meet Highlight Districts

Meet some districts identified as best practice partners for their implementation of a dual credit program

Advanced Placement

The 2017 AP Honor Roll list includes the following districts: Arlington, Everett, Lake Washington, Longview, Orcas Island, Peninsula, Shoreline and Walla Walla. These districts have seen an increase in the number of AP exams taken, and have at least held steady or improved their overall exam scores, for a three-year span or longer. >

College in the High School

Zillah HS has done an exceptional job integrating College in the High School opportunities into the master schedule of a fairly small high school

International Baccalaureate

Rainier Beach HS has built a culture of high expectations and achievement through implementing a significant support structure in combination with offering more IB opportunities to all students.

If your district is finding ways to scale up dual credit opportunities for more students and/or increase equitable access to dual credit, please contact Jason Boatwright and let us know!

Live Webinars - Dual Credit is one in the series

Archived Webinars

Professional Development (PD): Trainings/Workshops/Conference Presentations

High School & Beyond Plan

  • Use the High School and Beyond Plan to help students connect their post-high school goals with the available dual credit option(s) that fit(s) best OSPIs HSBP information page, lesson plans and model template (available in different languages!)