Top 10 Dual Enrollment Programs Online

Badge for our ranking of Best Dual Enrollment Programs

by Tom Panter

Are you interested in figuring out how a student can earn credit for high school and college at the same time? That is exactly what an online dual enrollment program has the possibility of doing for you. Read on to learn more.

Online dual enrollment programs for high school students are one of the cheapest ways to begin your college career. Many of these programs allow you to earn the first year or two year’s worth of college credits while still in high school by taking classes online. What’s more, the classes you take will also replace some of your high school classes, so you won’t be stuck doing extra work. Dual enrollment at a regionally accredited institution also guarantees that your credits will transfer to other regionally accredited institutions.

While this may sound similar to taking AP courses in High School, there are actually several advantages to using dual enrollment. To begin with, not all colleges accept for credit. Additionally, getting AP credit is contingent on passing an exam at the end of the class. That means that after taking the class for an entire semester, there is still the possibility of not getting any college credit for it if you perform poorly on the exam. In a dual enrollment program, on the other hand, all that you have to do to get the credit is pass the class. Most dual credit programs only admit above-average students and have a very high pass rate.

The following online dual-credit high school/college programs are ranked according to their cost and the number of courses they offer. More details on the ranking methodology are listed after the article.

Image of student for our ranking of Top 10 Dual Enrollment Programs Online

Reviewing the Best Online Dual Enrollment Programs for High School Students

10. Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, Colorado

At Colorado Christian University, high school students can take advantage of an online dual enrollment program designed for high school students. Courses are offered three semesters per year in 10- 15-week blocks, and there is no limit to the number of courses a student can take each semester. The courses use the Blackboard Management System, which allows for interactions with classmates and professors. Dual enrollment students can either choose individual courses or enter an associate degree track.

  • Tuition: $300 per three-credit course 
  • 25 courses

9. Evangel University

Springfield, Missouri

Evangel University offers a dual enrollment program for high school juniors and seniors, and some of their courses are available online. The online courses are eight to 15 weeks in length, and dual enrollment students can take up to two courses per term. Students have access to online bulletin boards and chat features so that they can communicate with both classmates and professors. All online courses use Canvas, and students have access to Evangel’s Student Success Center support. 

  • Tuition: $196 per three-credit course 
  • 6 courses

8. Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Liberty University offers the largest non-profit dual enrollment program in the country. With hundreds of courses to choose from and eight entry points per year, high school juniors and seniors  are sure to find courses that meet their needs and interests. Dual enrollment students have three options: a la carte courses, an associate degree program, or a certificate program. Dual enrollment students have access to Liberty’s online writing center, as well as to one-on-one student advising.  

  • Tuition: $549 per three-credit course 
  • 100+ courses

7. Austin Peay State University

Clarksville, Tennessee

At Austin Peay State University, dual enrollment students can earn an entire associate’s degree online. High school students need to maintain a 3.0 GPA to apply. The school offers eight different academic focuses to choose from, and four of the online dual enrollment courses are offered tuition free through grants and scholarships. Students can take advantage of three entry points each year, and there are no student fees for dual enrollment students. 

  • Tuition: $498 per three-credit course 
  • 56 courses

6. Boyce College

Louisville, Kentucky 

Boyce College is a Southern Baptist University that allows high school students to take advantage of many of their available online courses through a dual enrollment program. Available courses range from general education to courses in Biblical study. All classes run for either eight or 16 weeks in length. All of Boyce’s online courses meet high academic standards, and there are eight degrees available fully online. 

  • Tuition: $297 per three-credit course 
  • 35 courses

5. Maranatha Baptist University

Watertown, Wisconsin

At Maranatha Baptist University, online dual enrollment students can choose from more than 100 courses. The program is available to any student who has completed two years of high school. The online class schedule is flexible, but classes are not self paced. Students work with a faculty member on a weekly schedule. Classes are kept small, and there are various platforms available for interaction with other students and faculty. Students can take just one course, complete a semester or a year, or even earn an associate’s degree through the program.

  • Tuition: $525 per three-credit course 
  • 100+ courses

4. LeTourneau University

Longview, Texas

The dual enrollment program at LeTourneau offers flexible options for students wishing to enroll in online classes. The program is available to any high-schooler with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The classes are asynchronous, allowing students to complete the coursework on their own schedule. However, the courses are not self paced, and homework is due each week on a schedule. The classes run on a 15-week schedule, and free tutoring is available to all enrolled students. 

  • Tuition: $270 per three-credit course
  • 37 courses

3. Western Illinois University

Macomb, Illinois

At Western Illinois University, high school students can enroll in online dual enrollment classes for a reduced tuition rate. The school offers 58 remote course options, with both asynchronous and live-streamed options. The program is available to any high school student who has completed three semesters of coursework. Convenient payment plans are available to all students. 

  • Tuition: $310 per three-credit course 
  • 58 courses

2. Northampton Community College

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

The online dual enrollment program at Northampton Community College is available to juniors and seniors. With over 240 courses to choose from, students can pick a course load and schedule that best fits their personal needs. The school offers free tutoring and academic success programs to all enrolled students. Students have three yearly options for entering the program, and the registration process is quick and easy. NCC typically enrolls more than 600 dual enrollment students each semester.  

  • Tuition: $375 per three-credit course
  • 100+ courses

1. Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, Arizona

Grand Canyon University offers a great dual enrollment program for those looking to study online. This affordable program is available to sophomores, juniors, and seniors in high school, and enrollment is dependent on their GPA. The online courses are offered in both seven- and 15-week formats. The program offers flexibility for students to build their own program based on their individual needs and schedules. GCU’s online classroom provides interactive forums so that students have the opportunity to interact with both professors and peers, as well as collaborate on projects and assignments. According to the GCU dual enrollment website, “Whether your dream is to be a software engineer or a teacher, GCU will tailor your dual enrollment journey to you.” High-schoolers can earn up to 60 credits through this dual enrollment program. 

  • Tuition: $157.50 per three-credit course
  • 48 courses

Ranking Methodology

These dual credit programs were awarded points based on the number of courses (one point per 10 courses) and the price of the program (one point for every $50 of tuition under $1000/course). Ties were broken by giving a better rank to the cheaper program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some major differences between high school and college?

Choice is one of the biggest differences. As a college student, you will have much more control over what courses you decide to take. Granted, academic advisors will assist you in making choices and certain majors have requirements; however, in the end, it will be your responsibility for ensuring you choose the right classes for your major. This brings us to the next difference.

Responsibility is a huge difference between high school and college. In high school, your school keeps track of your attendance, and if you skip school, they’ll call your parents. The principals and teachers keep you accountable for your homework. They all do their best to ensure you pass the class. In college, you are treated as an adult. Professors aren’t going to track you down to remind you about missed or late assignments. They’ll just penalize you according to their policies and move on. You are responsible for yourself: attendance, turning in assignments on time, and studying the proper amount for exams.

Textbooks are not provided in college. Most of the time it is down to the student to acquire the textbook first-hand, second-hand, or through renting or borrowing. Professors don’t care where or how you got the textbook. If you acquire a different edition than the one they use, they don’t usually care. You (and your parents if you are still in high school) are responsible.

Expect more homework in college. Unlike high school, most of the work takes place outside of the class time. Most professors equate homework during college to the equivalent of a full-time job. Expect to spend about 40 hrs per week on homework. On the other hand, you have less actual class time (lecture time if we’re talking about online programs). For instance, if you take 15 credits per semester, with three classes Mon/Wed/Fri and two classes on Tues/Thurs, you will be in class about three hours per day. That doesn’t mean you can be slack though, because 40 hours per week on homework means you’re still spending 55 hours per week on school.

Teachers in high school make sure to provide and review all material in class that will be on quizzes and tests. In college, things not covered directly in class may be on the test, as it should have been learned in the required reading (not all reading is covered) or through other means outside of class.

Professors are often less concerned than high school teachers about paying attention to the individual needs of students. If you need special consideration for anything, you will have to ask and advocate for yourself. If you are lost, you need to ask the professor for clarification. It’s even common for professors to barely mention a paper in the actual class. She may expect you to simply see the assignment in the syllabus and do it yourself by the specified deadline.

What can I do to succeed at Online Learning in a High School/College Dual Enrollment Program

Online classes are quite different from in-person classes. They require even more self-sufficiency, attention to detail, and discipline than traditional classes. Here are some tips to help you get started off on the right foot with your online classes.

  • Make sure you meet the technical requirements of the online learning platform. Different platforms have different requirements, and it is essential to make sure you have access to everything you will need to take the course ahead of time. This includes verifying your computer’s compatibility with the platform and any software programs the class requires. You must also make sure you have access to any specialized software required for the class or confirm that it is provided for you if you do not have access.
  • Take the initiative to contact your professor early and often. Use this communication as an opportunity to clarify and confirm the professor’s expectations of students. I remember getting papers returned to me on occasion and the only comment was “Rewrite”. When you get feedback like this, it’s really time to schedule a meeting with the professor. Remember that you are paying for this education, so you are entitled to the professor’s time and attention. However, sometimes you must ask for it.
  • Sit down in the beginning of the semester with all your courses’ syllabi and create a cohesive plan for the term. Notice what assignments are due and when they are due. Often, multiple assignments from different classes will be due at the same time, so make sure you know when you plan to work on each assignment so you don’t end up having to write two long papers the night before they are due.
  • Create a schedule for when you will listen to the lectures. It’s best to create a cohesive schedule so that you listen to the lectures consistently throughout the term. Some courses give you access to all the lectures at once, while others release lectures according to a schedule. Confirm which format your course uses and adjust accordingly.
  • Find a place where you are comfortable working. This could be your bedroom, a home office, the living room, a coffee shop, or a local library. Make sure you will always have multiple ways to access the internet, in case the internet at your preferred workspace isn’t working on a crucial paper-submission day (this happens more than you would think).

What are the main Benefits of High School/College Online Dual Enrollment?

What exactly are the benefits of dual enrollment? Well, there are quite a few, so let’s take a look. Dual credit high school/college programs are:

  • Often significantly cheaper than tuition for regular students.
  • The most efficient way to start your college career. – Many high school courses of the junior and senior year cover similar material to the courses you will take in the first two years of college. Dual credit programs eliminate the redundancy. It’s even possible to arrange it so that you can graduate college with a bachelor’s degree at the age of 20. Even if you don’t graduate at 20, you’re still more likely to graduate on time than the average college student is.
  • A flexible option. – Students have more to choose from than they do in high school. This allows you to focus more narrowly on areas that are of interest to you and subjects that will be useful for earning your degree.
  • A good transition. – You get acclimated to college while still living at home. Like the Northampton Community College (number 2 on our list) dual enrollment webpage states, “it prepares students for what to expect at the next level and sets them up for success in their future academic endeavors.”

How do I pay for my online dual enrollment for high school student’s program?

This is sometimes the toughest part of dual credit programs. Students under 18 who haven’t technically graduated high school aren’t eligible for financial aid. This means that as cheap as dual-credit programs are, they must be paid out of pocket or through private scholarships. However, some states, school districts, and public schools also have financial aid options available to students who excel enough to qualify for the dual credit program. Talk to both your school counselor and your college’s admissions officers to make sure you take advantage of all your options.

Tuition numbers and the number of courses in each program were taken from each program’s individual website, as linked in the body of the article above.

Related Resources:

This concludes our article on the top 10 dual enrollment programs online.