Georgia Perimeter College Newsroom

Merger ups the ante for Dual Enrollment students

by Rob Jenkins

(an opinion column reprinted from the Gwinnett Daily Post, March 12, 2015)

It’s that time of year again — time for me to write about dual enrollment. I always choose early spring, of course, because that’s when rising high school seniors and their parents need to be thinking seriously about getting a head start on college by taking classes at a local campus.

It’s also the time of year when, if students are considering dual enrollment, they should be taking the SAT (if they haven’t already) and getting in their application materials.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, dual enrollment is a program that allows qualified high school seniors (and sometimes juniors) to take college classes. Those classes count toward their high school graduation, but they also translate into college credit hours that students can take with them wherever they go.

For example, a 12th-grader who took English Composition I and Pre-Calculus at the college would receive credit for senior-level language arts and math on his or her high school transcript — but that student would also receive college credit for those courses and therefore not have to take them again as a “freshman.”

Some dual enrollment students just take a class or two, but some attend college full-time, earning up to a year or more of credit while still technically in high school. And the state covers most of the costs, although students will probably be on the hook for books and some fees.

Even so, dual enrollment might just be one of the greatest bargains in the history of education. If you can get an entire year of college out of the way for a few hundred dollars, instead of several thousand — well, why wouldn’t you?

Unfortunately, a lot of local high school students (and their parents) still aren’t aware they can take college courses at Georgia Gwinnett College or Georgia Perimeter College. In some cases, that’s because their high schools don’t want them to know. But whether your school promotes it or not, once you’ve learned about dual enrollment, you have a right to look into it and see if it’s for you.

Both GGC and GPC have excellent, thriving dual enrollment programs (because the word IS getting out, whether the high schools want it to or not). But the impending merger between GPC and Georgia State University, which I talked about in last week’s column, is a game-changer.

Assuming all goes as expected, high school students who take dual enrollment classes on a GPC campus in 2015 — 2016 will have the opportunity to become full-fledged GSU students in the fall of 2016 — right there on the same campus, if they choose.

And those who start dual enrollment classes on a Perimeter campus in the fall of 2016 will actually be attending Georgia State at that point.

That seems like a powerful incentive for rising juniors and seniors in the north and east metro area to seriously consider dual enrollment.

Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and a professor at Georgia Perimeter College. The views expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer. Email Rob at