Legislative Panel Adopts Recommendations for Dual Enrollment Program

Dave Williams

Tuesday, October 17th, 2023

Capitol Beat is a nonprofit news service operated by the Georgia Press Educational Foundation that provides coverage of state government to newspapers throughout Georgia. For more information visit capitol-beat.org.

Georgia lawmakers should simplify the state’s dual enrollment program for high-school students wishing to get a jump on post-secondary education, do more to publicize the program and provide more funding, a legislative study committee recommended Wednesday.

The joint House-Senate panel unanimously approved a report following several meetings around the state this summer and fall exploring ways to make the dual enrollment program financially sustainable while speeding up the progression of students earning credit for taking college courses into high-demand careers.

Among other things, the committee recommended doing away with a three-year sunset provision on the program.

“When it comes to a time frame, we want continuity,” said Georgia Rep. Matt Dubnik, R-Gainesville, one of the committee’s co-chairmen.

The study committee also recommended clarifying state law by providing a legal definition for the term “high-demand careers.” Currently, the list includes 18 careers ranging from welding to criminal justice, but there’s no specific criteria for either adding to or subtracting from the list to keep up with workforce requirements.

“It needs to be based on data we can track and monitor,” Dubnik said.

The panel also suggested the state look to increase the number of “articulated agreements” between the University System of Georgia and the state’s technical colleges, which allow technical college students to transfer after two years to complete their degrees at a four-year state college or university without losing credits. 

“A lot of these arrangements are done locally or regionally,” said state Sen. Matt Brass, R-Newnan, the study committee’s other co-chairman. “It would be in the best interests of our students if there were more uniformity throughout the state.”

Beyond steps to simplify the dual enrollment program, the committee also recommended the state take steps to make information about the program more accessible to students and parents and boost funding to hire more high-school counselors and technical college instructors.

Brass said how many of the panel’s recommendations would require legislation and how many could be implemented through policy changes remains to be seen.

“This report doesn’t lock the legislature into anything,” he said. “We’re only making recommendations.”

The committee’s report will now be forwarded to the full General Assembly to take up during the 2024 legislative session beginning in January.