Renewed Discussion about Changes to Dual Enrollment Program

The Senate Higher Education Committee appears poised to approve changes to Georgia’s dual enrollment program, currently known as Move On When Ready. Members heard a presentation on a substitute version of HB 444 , which seeks revisions to the program’s eligibility criteria and the number of credit hours funded by the state. Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), the committee’s chairman, signaled his approval of the legislation at the meeting’s opening. He noted that the dual enrollment program carried an initial price tag of about $23 million annually but has ballooned in cost. Sen. Bert Reeves (R-Marietta) presented the bill with assistance from representatives of Gov. Kemp’s office and the Georgia Student Finance Commission, which administers the program. Reeves noted that many stakeholders representing K-12 and higher education provided feedback on the dual enrollment program and that the changes proposed in HB 444 are intended to preserve it.
HB 444 would limit state funded dual enrollment courses to core courses and eligible Career Technical and Agricultural Education courses, excluding fine arts, electives, and physical education. Speakers noted that the university system offers more than 2000 courses that meet the eligible core criteria. The legislation caps dual enrollment hours at 30 and limits dual enrollment to eleventh and twelfth grade students, though a limited allowance is made for some tenth graders. The bill does not prevent students from taking dual enrollment at their own expense.
The current cost of Georgia’s Move on When Ready program is $100.8 million annually. If enacted, HB 444 is expected to reduce dual enrollment costs by about $17 million each year.
The legislation also reframes the program as the “Dual Enrollment Act” and articulates the act’s purpose, “to promote and increase access to postsecondary educational opportunities for Georgia high school students while increasing high school graduation rates, preparing a skilled workforce, and decreasing time and cost to postsecondary credential completion.”
The committee took no vote on the legislation today, though Chairman Tippins mentioned as the group adjourned that the Senate High Education Committee is expected to meet and take a vote on HB 444 tomorrow, Thurs. Jan 16. Tippins, a longtime Cobb school board member and former chair of the Senate Education and Youth Committee, encouraged those with questions and questions to contact him before tomorrow’s committee meeting. His contact information is available  HERE .