Dual enrollment bill finds favor in House

Lisa Buie

A bill that would allow all students to take advantage of dual enrollment programs offered by colleges and universities for free won approval from the Florida House of Representatives Appropriations Committee today.

HB 187, co-sponsored by Rep. Ardian Zika, R-Land O’Lakes, Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, and Rep. Wyman Duggan, R-Jacksonville, provides $550,000 from the state’s general revenue fund each year to help cover the costs of instructional materials for students at private and charter schools. Last year, the Legislature set aside the same recurring amount to cover those costs for students who are home schooled.

The bill also prohibits dual enrollment agreements with colleges and schools from passing along the costs associated with tuition and fees, including laboratory and registration fees as well as instructional materials, to a private school. Costs associated with virtual dual enrollment courses would be borne by both entities, according to a bill analysis.

The bill, which would take effect during the 2020-21 school year, also would expand dual enrollment programs from one to two years to allow more students to earn an associate degree. Currently, the program is open only to high school seniors.

“This bill seeks to expand opportunity to all students,” said Zika, who introduced the bill at the committee meeting.

The bill previously was approved by the House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee and now heads to the House Education Committee for consideration.

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