Financial Administration

College Credit in High Schools (G36)

Revised: July 13, 1998


  1. Background and Rationale

    High school to college transition programs demonstrate the UW System's commitment to maintaining access and affordability in higher education and advancing the Wisconsin Idea through collaborative efforts with K-12 schools. UW System courses offered for credit at Wisconsin high schools provide an opportunity for academically-qualified high school students to engage in a special college-level learning experience. High school and college faculty forge strong working relationships as they cooperate to develop curricula and assessment instruments, infuse technology into instruction, and create a better understanding of the respective disciplines and pedagogy; such working relationships benefit both faculties, their institutions, and their students. These programs provide an opportunity for students to pursue rigorous advanced subjects sometimes available only at the college level and assist school districts in supporting gifted and talented education programs. Students may benefit from accelerating completion of their college degree programs, reducing the cost of their college education, and entering the work force sooner.

    This policy statement deals specifically with college credit courses offered in Wisconsin high schools by university-approved high school faculty. It is important to establish standard policies and guidelines for such courses to help ensure that college credit is being awarded on the same basis across participating institutions.


  2. Policy

    1. Quality Assurance

      1. Courses

        Courses must meet the standards for instruction, content, student work expectations and evaluation that exist for the same course work offered within the UW System institution's on-campus degree programs. University departments are primarily responsible for assuring equivalent quality for these courses. Implementation of course standards should include at least the following:

        1. Course Syllabus. The appropriate academic department, or its designee, will approve the syllabus for each course prepared by the adjunct instructor each semester.

        2. Examinations. The appropriate academic department, or its designee, will review in-term examinations and grading criteria each semester. Final examinations, or an equivalent assessment instrument, shall be developed in close consultation with the appropriate academic department, or its designee, and a copy of each final examination placed on file in the department.

      2. Faculty and Professional Development

        High school faculty who teach UW courses at participating high schools must have at least a Master's degree in the discipline in which the course is offered and shall have the specific approval of the appropriate university academic department. The UW academic department responsible for the course may make an exception if the high school faculty member's Master's degree is in another related discipline. High school faculty selected shall meet all institutional and appropriate university departmental standards to qualify as an adjunct instructor.

        UW System institutions should encourage regular professional interaction between university faculty and high school faculty involved in offering college courses in the high school. Such interactions may include: (1) regular, on-site visits by university faculty to review student work and ensure comparability of course work and grading standards; (2) professional development seminars for university and high school faculty in the content area; (3) training and preparation of high school faculty prior to the initial offering of a college-level course; and (4) encouraging high school faculty to enhance their academic preparation by, for example, taking additional graduate course work and joining professional organizations.

      3. Students

        Enrollment in college courses offered in high school should be limited to students seeking college credit. Student eligibility criteria for participation in college credit courses will be determined by the UW System institution in collaboration with the participating high school. Examples of such eligibility criteria include passing a proficiency exam within the content area, having earned a particular grade point average, successfully completing prerequisite courses, demonstrating exceptional talent in the content area, or submitting validation from a high school faculty member that the student is qualified to take college course work in a content area.

        Students who have completed UW courses taught in their high school will be considered for admission to UW institutions on the basis of the same criteria as other high school students.

      4. Evaluation

        UW institutions offering college courses in high schools are expected to evaluate the effectiveness of those courses. Such evaluation may include gathering various types of data, including whether the credits earned by students participating in the program are accepted by other colleges and universities, and whether students who successfully complete those courses are successful in the next level of college course work in that content area. In addition, those institutions that offer an extensive array of college courses in high schools should conduct periodic program reviews, including evaluation by external reviewers.

    2. Student Records

      All student enrollments should be reported in the UW System Central Data Request (CDR) and reported in such a way that they may be uniquely identified (for more detail refer to CDR reporting guidelines in the CDR Manual, vol. 1, pg. 1090.1).

    3. Tuition

      Students will pay at least the full per credit resident undergraduate tuition rate. School districts will have the option to bill the UW System institution for costs they have incurred in providing instruction for these courses. UW System institutions may reimburse the local school districts the lesser of the actual costs or 50 percent of the tuition collected.

    4. Transfer of Credit

      Credit received for UW courses taught in the high school will be subject to the UW System Undergraduate Transfer Policy.

    5. Coordination with the Local School District

      System provisions must be made. Each UW institution with a College Credit in High Schools program should develop specific procedures and programs in conjunction with local high school districts and in compliance with the policies, procedures and contractual arrangements of the districts.

      The UW institution will work with participating high schools to provide inservice training of teachers before the program begins, and for instructional materials and laboratory resources.

      Each UW System institution has a geographic area in which it has actively collaborated with school districts. UW System institutions should offer a College Credit in High Schools program primarily in these recognized regions. An institution planning to offer such a program outside its generally recognized geographic area should inform the local UW System institution. Collaborative programming is encouraged.