Accreditor Offers Relief to Dual Credit Providers

November 20, 2015

The nation's largest regional accreditor is giving colleges more time to meet an updated requirement on dual enrollment instructors.

The Higher Learning Commission's Board of Trustees voted this month to give institutions and state higher education boards more time to come into compliance with its mandate requiring high school teachers in dual-credit courses to have a master's degree or at least 18 graduate-level credit hours, in the specialty they're teaching. HLC issued a policy clarification earlier this year.

"If a college or university believes its dual-credit program is not able to be in compliance by Sept. 1, 2017, it may submit an application for an extension by September 2016. A state higher education entity may also apply for the extension on behalf of accredited colleges and universities under its jurisdiction. A review panel will evaluate all applications. Approved applications will be granted an extension of up to September 2022 based on the circumstances presented in the application," said John Hausaman, a public information officer for the commission, in an email. 

The extension is only for dual-credit programs, but is in effect for all other college and university programs. HLC covers a 19-state Midwestern area. Minnesota and Indiana have widespread dual-enrollment programs. Lawmakers, high schools, students and colleges in those states worried the clarification would negatively affect those programs. 

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