Enroll in a Community College and Four-Year University Simultaneously

Enroll in a Community College and Four-Year University Simultaneously
Savvy students are taking advantage of dual enrollment programs that allow them to take courses at community college and a four-year university concurrently. Learn about the benefits and how you can take advantage of these programs.

Students who wish to earn a four-year degree but have limited funds to pay for a university have often been in a quandary over how to pay for their education. Some begin their college careers in less expensive community colleges, hoping to transfer to a four-year college once they earn their associate's degree. To expand the options for these students, some community colleges are teaming up with four-year institutions to simultaneously provide dual enrollment at both schools. We'll tell you how this dual enrollment works and the benefits and highlight some of the schools already using this model.

This video explains the dual enrollment program at Southwest Tennessee Community College.

What is Dual Enrollment?

Students pursuing the dual enrollment option actually simultaneously enroll in a community college and a four-year university. The student must be accepted into both schools before completing the dual enrollment. In most of these programs, students can take courses from either institution and tuition rates are based on the college where the course is offered. In addition, students have access to facilities and services at both colleges, expanding their options in additional activities and resources.

Benefits of Dual Enrollment

There are many potential benefits of the dual enrollment model, including:

  • Simplified admission process that allows students access to both colleges with one application
  • Course planning and advising is coordinated for a more efficient degree track
  • Financial aid is streamlined between the two schools
  • Expanded options for student services, including counseling, libraries, and computer labs
  • Transcripts may be sent automatically from one institution to another at the end of the term to make it easier for students to complete credit transfers.
  • Students have more flexibility in course selection and planning
  • Students enjoy a smoother transition between community college and a university
  • Students save money in their early coursework by taking classes at a less expensive institution

Other benefits may be specific to a particular college partnership, such as shared parking permits or access to recreational activities. It is important to check with the specific institutions where you enroll to determine exactly what is included in the dual enrollment package.

This video describes a partnership program with Oregon State University.

University of Oregon Partners with Community Colleges

According to the university's website, the University of Oregon has adopted this dual enrollment model with both Lane Community College and Southwestern Oregon Community College. Dually enrolled students have access to housing at the University of Oregon and can choose to take classes at either institution. Tuition rates are based on the college where the course is taught. Students enrolled in the dual transfer program can either finish their associate's degree and then move into courses at the University of Oregon or follow the direct transfer route to have credits immediately transferred from each course taken at the community college to the university.

Western Oregon University Follows Suit

According to the university website, Western Oregon University has also partnered up for a dual enrollment program with Chemeketa Community College. These two institutions allow students to complete one application process for both college admissions. Once a student is accepted into the dual enrollment program, he has access to services and resources at both institutions simultaneously. Even parking permits can be used at both campuses.

Portland Community College Offers Multiple Options

The dual enrollment program at Portland Community College offers the opportunity to partner with one of the following universities:

  • Portland State University
  • Oregon State University
  • Oregon Institute of Technology
  • Concordia University
  • Western Governors University
  • Marylhurst University
  • Linfield College

With so many schools to choose from, Portland Community College provides students the opportunity to customize their education to their specific needs and interests, according to the PCC website.

This video explains the dual enrollment program at Western Oregon University.

Dual Enrollment for High School Students

Dual enrollment is also an option for some high school students in Indiana who want to get a head start on their post-secondary education. Some of the high schools in this state are partnering with community colleges in the area to allow high school students to earn up to two years of college credit by the time they graduate from high school. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, one school, Whiteland Community High School, is also talking to Indiana University and other institutions about bringing college classes to the high school campus during the day.

Thanks to the dual enrollment model, getting a post-secondary education is becoming easier at some schools. With a single enrollment application, students can simultaneously prepare for their four-year degree at a combination of a two-year college and a university.

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