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Earning College Credit In High School Saves Families And Taxpayers Millions

January 29, 2021
By

Indiana Commission for Higher EducationMore than 60 percent of 2018 high school graduates earned college credit in high school through dual credit or Advanced Placement (AP), with a combined potential economic impact of almost $160 million annually for students and the State of Indiana. This is according to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s 2021 Early College Credit Report.

“The data continue to tell a powerful story about the value of these early college credit opportunities for Hoosier students and families,” Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said. “Students who earn college credit in high school—through dual credit, AP or both—are more likely to pursue education and training after graduation, more likely to be successful in college, and can save thousands of dollars in tuition and fees.”

The report, released every two years, analyzes data and offers recommendations about the state’s early college credit landscape. Key report findings show:
• Nearly two-thirds of students earn early college credit. Out of nearly 74,000 graduates in the 2018 high school cohort, 47,289 (64 percent) earned early college credit.
• On average, dual credit students earn a semester of college credit. Dual credit students are earning more dual credit than ever before—13.5 credits on average, up from just under 10 credits five years ago.
• More students are earning college credentials in high school. About 1,200 students earned the Indiana College Core, a block of 30 college credits that transfer from high school to any public institution in the state. Over 370 Hoosier high schoolers in 2018 graduated high school with an associate degree in hand.
• Dual credit earners are more likely to stay in college and complete on time or early. Students who earn dual credit are more likely to stay enrolled in college until they graduate. Students with at least one semester of dual credit are more likely to graduate on time than students without dual credit. Students with at least two semesters of dual credit are more likely to complete their degrees early than students without any dual credit.
• Disparities remain when it comes to who earns dual credit. Only 38 percent of Black students and 50 percent of Hispanic/Latino students earn dual credit, compared to 65 percent of White students.

Similar gaps exist depending on socioeconomic status and region of the state.

“While this report makes clear the reasons earning college credit in high school is a wise choice for many students and families, it also highlights the areas where we must improve,” Secretary of EducationDr. Katie Jenner said. “Looking ahead, the Indiana Department of Education will be focused on supporting schools by strengthening student transitions from high school to college and careers, closing equity gaps to ensure all students have the access to and benefit of these opportunities, and giving students a head start on their goals by helping more graduate with a postsecondary credential.”

The new report emphasizes the need for students, families, educators and counselors to learn more about the numerous college credit options available and to make careful decisions about what courses to take based on students’ goals after high school—whether that’s heading into the workforce, attaining short- or long-term certificates, or enrolling in two- or four-year colleges.

Making careful, more intentional decisions about which early college credit courses to take ensures the maximum possible savings, because it means more of the early college credits students earn in high school will transfer to the college degree programs students pursue. It also fortifies investment by the State and Indiana’s public institutions, which provided $9.4 million in waivers for students in 2018 to take dual credit courses at a low cost of $25 per credit hour. Ivy Tech Community College provided more than half of the state’s dual credit in 2018 and waives the $25 per credit hour tuition cost for all students.