Portland State University in Oregon has been offering dual-credit classes to high school students for more than 35 years. About 1,000 students from 16 high schools in the Portland metropolitan area participate annually, according to program director Sally Hudson. Students pay about a third of the standard tuition rate—in 2012-2013, it will be $226 for a four-credit class, discounted from $734—but study the same materials and meet the same standards as other PSU students.
All seven institutions in the Oregon University System, as well as all of the state's public community colleges, guarantee credit for dual-enrollment classes. Because it can be difficult to determine the rigor of dual-enrollment classes, some colleges—especially smaller and private institutions—give no credit for them. One way to avoid this disappointment is to look into different colleges' policies on these programs and ensure that the classes are regionally or nationally accredited.
Justin Snider is an advising dean at Columbia University, where he also teaches undergraduate writing. This article was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education news outlet affiliated with the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, based at Columbia's Teachers College.