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Early College Programs


Through the Early College Degree Program, students earn both high school and college credits by taking classes full-time on the HCC campus. Students who spend both their junior and senior years in the program have the opportunity to earn an associate degree by the time they graduate from high school.  The Early College Degree Program is open to students from Washington County Public Schools. Students in this program take all of their classes on the college campus or online. To learn more about the Early College Degree Program, visit



Through the Early College Access Program, students earn college credit while still at their home high school or home school.  Early College Access Program students take classes in a dual-credit class at their high school, on HCC's campus, or online. The dual-credit classes are those that award both high school credit and college credit. Dual credit courses follow the HCC curriculum and are taught by college-approved instructors either at the student's home high school or the HCC campus.



Students must meet entry prerequisite requirements to enroll in a course. Students who are not College and Career Ready (CCR) may have to take supplemental courses and/or participate in placement testing.  A student meets the CCR Standard if they meet or exceed the State standards in both English and Math.  A student becomes CCR in English Language Arts by passing the English Language Arts Grade 10 MCAP assessment.  In math, a student becomes CCR  by passing one of the following:  Algebra I, Geometry, or the Algebra II MCAP assessment. Students may also become CCR by earning a 520 Math SAT score. For the 2024-2025 school year, a student is also considered CCR if they have a 3.0 unweighted GPA by the end of 10th grade and have earned a C or higher in Algebra I.

Students who have not taken a course at HCC within the last year must complete the HCC application.  Students who do not complete the HCC application can not be enrolled in the dual credit course for college credit.  Students will be required to provide their social security number for the HCC application. The application must be made with the student’s name and student’s personal email address (not  WCPS email address). The application deadline for the Fall 2024 semester is September 13, 2024.  The application deadline for the Spring 2025 semester is February 7, 2025. After completion and acceptance of the application, students must complete the required HCC registration (sent to the student’s HCC email after the HCC application is complete and accepted. has been accepted). 

The WCPS Board of Education policy allows a student to make a schedule change without any penalty during the first 15 days of the course.  The last day to make a schedule change for a semester-one or year-long course is September 18, 2024.  The last day to drop a spring semester course is February 11, 2025.  Drops before September 18, 2024 (first semester) and February 11, 2025 (second semester) will not incur any penalties. After the September 18 deadline for first-semester courses, the counselor and student must complete the HCC Withdraw Form.  Students must provide a reason for withdrawing from the class.  Students may choose to take a withdrawal (W) on the college transcript up until October 29, 2024. Students may also choose to audit a dual credit course up until October 29, 2024. Students taking classes on campus at HCC or online must adhere to the HCC Registration Calendar for adding and dropping classes.

Potential Consequences for dropping a course:

  • Grade: Depending on the timing of the drop, a student may receive a failing grade or a withdrawal (W) on their college transcript. This can impact the student’s GPA and academic record.

  • Progression: Dropping a course might affect a student’s progression toward graduation, especially if the course was required for a degree program.

  • College: Dropping a course may impact a student’s academic standing or eligibility for future dual credit courses.

  • Financial Aid: Dropping a course may impact a student’s financial aid eligibility for future terms. Some financial aid programs require maintaining a specified course load to receive aid.

It is crucial that students thoroughly understand the policies and potential consequences prior to dropping a dual credit course after the HCC deadline. Students considering dropping a course should contact their high school counseling department and an HCC advisor to discuss options and implications. 

Students may not take more than 15 credits per semester without the permission of the WCPS Executive Director for Secondary Education and the early college coordinator at HCC.  Special permission may be granted for no more than 18 credits.  

College credits earned through HCC generally transfer to other colleges and universities. However, it is important to note that transfer policies vary among institutions. It is recommended that students consult with the colleges or universities they plan to attend post-high school to understand their specific transfer credit policies.

Dual credit courses are transcribed on both the high school and college transcripts.

  • Dual Credit Courses Taught by WCPS Staff in High Schools
    When a student enrolls in a dual credit course in their high school, the course is minimally 67.5 hours as opposed to a minimum of 37.5 clock hours at HCC. This allows for WCPS staff to teach dual credit courses at a slower pace and modify assignments.  Students will receive a WCPS grade that will be posted on their high school transcript and an HCC grade that will be posted on their college transcript.  
  • Dual Credit Courses on the HCC Campus or Virtually
    These courses are taught by HCC staff and follow the HCC schedule.  Classes on the HCC campus generally meet twice a week.  Students taking these courses at HCC will receive one grade that is transcribed on the high school and college transcript.  Students who do not demonstrate appropriate academic progress by maintaining a 2.0 GPA may be dismissed from Early College Programs and will return to their home high school.

All dual credit courses are factored into extracurricular eligibility. Please refer to WCPS policy IKA for additional information.

For the 2024-25 school year, WCPS will cover the cost of tuition, fees, and course materials for all students enrolled in an approved dual credit course. WCPS will only pay for up to 60 college credits.  An exception will be made for certain programs that require more than 60 credits to earn an AA degree or if there are special circumstances.  Students will need written permission from the Executive Director of Secondary Education.  

When a student signs up for a dual credit course, and the student does not take it seriously, such as by not completing assignments or by not attending class, WCPS reserves the right to collect reimbursement and/or by not paying for the student to take additional courses in the following semester(s). 

WCPS has ordered books and instructional materials for classes that occur in our high schools.  When a student is taking a course on the HCC campus or virtually with HCC staff, they can pick up their books in the HCC Bookstore, also free of charge.  Store hours are Monday–Thursday, 8:30 AM–5:00 PM and Friday, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM. Please email [email protected] or [email protected] if a student needs to arrange pickup outside the designated times. Students picking up books at HCC must present photo identification.

If a student is having difficulty in a dual credit course, they should communicate with their instructor and seek help. WCPS high schools and HCC offer tutoring services and academic support. It's important to address challenges early to prevent adverse impacts on high school and college performance.  Taking dual credit courses can be valuable, but students and parents should carefully consider their goals, responsibilities, and potential benefits before enrolling in these advanced courses. Students should ask their dual credit teachers about opportunities for extra help.  Many high schools have before and after-school tutoring available. In addition, HCC offers the Learning Support Center (LSC), which provides free academic support to current HCC students by offering individual walk-in tutoring, workshops, online tutoring, and writing feedback. Library services are also offered. Please see for more information. When a student’s GPA falls below 2.0, it will impact financial aid eligibility in the future. Many financial aid programs require a student to maintain a certain GPA to remain eligible. When a student falls below a 2.0 GPA, it could result in them losing their financial aid.  To prevent your GPA from dropping below 2.0, it's crucial to manage your time effectively, attend classes regularly, actively participate in coursework, seek help from professors or teachers when needed, and maintain a healthy study routine. If you're facing challenges that could affect your GPA, such as personal issues or difficulties with a particular subject, please contact academic advisors at HCC or your school counselors for guidance and support.