Early Postsecondary Opportunities

Tennessee students have an unprecedented opportunity for education and training beyond high school through the TN Promise. To ensure students are ready to take full advantage of the TN Promise and succeed in postsecondary, all students should have access to rigorous and relevant early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs).

EPSOs allow students to:

  • Earn postsecondary credits while in high school.
  • Become familiar with postsecondary expectations.
  • Develop confidence and skills for success in postsecondary.
  • Make informed college and career decisions.
  • Decrease the time and cost of completing a certificate or degree.

In Tennessee, EPSOs include:

  • Statewide Dual Credit
  • Local Dual Credit
  • Dual Enrollment
  • Advanced Placement (AP)
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)

Statewide Dual Credit Pilot

The Tennessee Department of Education is now accepting applications for the 2015-16 statewide dual credit pilot. Statewide dual credit courses expose students to postsecondary academic expectations and provide the opportunity to earn credit that can be applied to any of the state’s public postsecondary institutions.

  • For more information on the 2015-16 initiative, please review the Statewide Dual Credit 101 document.
  • All schools that are interested in offering a statewide dual credit course during the 2015-16 school year must fill out the initial application form.

Courses open to new and returning pilot schools:

  • College Algebra
  • Statistics
  • Sociology
  • Criminal Justice I
  • Health Information Technology

Courses only open to returning pilot schools:

  • Greenhouse Management
  • Agriculture Business Finance

Important Update for Statewide Dual Credit Agriculture Courses

During the initial pilot phase, all courses undergo a validation process to ensure the learning objectives and challenge exam questions meet current postsecondary expectations across the state. The validation process for the statewide dual credit Greenhouse Management and Agriculture Business Finance courses will begin in February 2015. The courses will continue to be offered in the 2015-16 school year, but there may be changes in content and structure. Any decisions on course changes will be made once the validation process is completed. Specific information on course content and structure will be available by May 2015.

Resources for 2014-15 Statewide Dual Credit Pilot Sites

Dual Enrollment

A dual enrollment course is a postsecondary course, taught either at the postsecondary institution or at the high school, by the postsecondary faculty (may be credentialed adjunct faculty). Upon successful completion of the course, students are able to earn postsecondary and secondary credit simultaneously. Students in these courses are enrolled at the postsecondary institution and pay tuition and fees associated with the course.

The state does not officially approve courses for dual enrollment. LEAs or high schools partner with postsecondary institutions to determine appropriate dual enrollment course offerings for high school students. However, a list of common courses offered for dual enrollment may be helpful in determining student opportunities. Two important criteria to consider in selecting dual enrollment offerings are the TN Transfer Pathway (TTP) courses and whether the courses meet General Education (Gen. Ed.) requirements. TTP courses are easily transferred between most postsecondary institutions. Many degree programs require General Education Core Courses.

Dual Enrollment Tuition and Fees

The Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program provides grant funding for dual enrollment tuition and fees. Beginning in the 2015-16 academic year, the Dual Enrollment Grant (DEG) will be able to provide the full cost of tuition and fees for a student’s first two dual enrollment courses at a community college ($500 per course). Students will then be eligible to receive $200 toward a third course, but grant funds will not be available for the fourth course. An overview of the changes is available here.

While the structure of the grant has changed to allow more students to take advantage of dual enrollment courses, the total funding has not changed. The grant provides students up to $1,200 per year, and the total gap between the grant award and cost to take four dual enrollment courses is still $800. However, this gap cost will accumulate over two courses instead of four. For a student’s 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th dual enrollment course, grant funding will provide $300 per course.

Learn about the Dual Enrollment Grant.

Read additional information on the State Board of Education policy.

Advanced Placement (AP)

AP classes are college-level classes in multiple subjects offered by the College Board. High school students can earn college credit by passing the AP exam associated with the specific course. Read more about Advanced Placement.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

CLEP provides exams that test mastery of college-level material acquired through various means, including general academic instruction, independent study, or extracurricular work. Learn more about CLEP.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

The International Baccalaureate offers an academically challenging education program with accompanying exams that enable students to earn college credit. Learn more.

Additional EPSOs

Cambridge AICE


Public Chapter 967 of the Public Acts of 2012, codified at Title 49, Chapter 15, Part 1, revised the requirements of the Consortium for Cooperative Innovative Education (Consortium) in state law. Effective July 1, 2012, the Consortium is charged with increasing and expanding postsecondary opportunities for high school students. The above referenced law specifically requires the development and pilot implementation of statewide dual credit assessments that are recognized and accepted for credit by public postsecondary institutions statewide. The priorities of the Office of Postsecondary Coordination and Alignment as well as the complete, engrossed legislation can be found in our Strategic Plan.

For questions regarding early postsecondary credit opportunities, contact Early.Postsecondary@tn.gov.

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Tennessee Promise

Last Update: March 13, 2015