Information for High SChools
Number of Courses per Student
Course Credit and GPA Guidelines
Transfer of Credits to Another College or University
Arranging for Student Participation
Participating students must meet the following eligibility guidelines:
- Be a Massachusetts resident.
- Be enrolled in grade 9, 10, 11, or 12 in a Massachusetts public secondary school or non-public school, including home school.
- Meet all course prerequisites per the policies of the participating campus.
- Have a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 or demonstrate their potential for academic success through submission of evidence of steadily improving high school grades, high class rank, special talent, strong grades in the field of the CDEP course, strong recommendations, etc.
- May not have earned a high school diploma or GED.
Although not a requirement for participation, the institutions of higher education are required to focus efforts on enrolling qualified students with particular emphasis on first-generation college students, low-income students, and students who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
Students may enroll in one or more courses per the discretion of the participating institution of higher education. Because colleges and universities are required to expand dual enrollment opportunities to as many students as possible per the available amount of state funding, students may be limited to the number of courses they can take.
Students do not pay tuition and fees for courses taken through CDEP. However, some institutions may charge a nominal admission fee (for example, $25), which may be waived. Students who demonstrate financial need may also receive additional assistance for books, supplies, and transportation. For more information, contact the CDEP coordinator at the participating institution of higher education.
Participating students may enroll in credit-bearing, college-level courses that:
- Are listed in the participating institution's course catalog;
- Count for no less than three credit hours;
- Are taught by college faculty;
- Qualify under the MassTransfer Block, which includes the disciplines of behavioral and social sciences, humanities and fine arts, natural or physical science, English composition/writing, and mathematics/quantitative reasoning; or are within the disciplines of computer science, technology, or engineering; and
- Take place on campus, online, or at a high school.
Ineligible courses include:
- Remedial/developmental courses (including ESL courses).
- Non-credit courses.
- Physical education, fitness, or recreation courses.
- First-year orientation.
- Courses that count for less than three credit hours.
Students must receive college and high school credit, documented on their college and high school transcripts, for the courses that they successfully complete. The high school may count the CDEP course either as an elective or a required course. Participating IHEs and high schools are responsible for establishing written agreements that ensure that high school students receive credit from both the college and high school for courses completed as part of CDEP. Although not a requirement, the Department of Higher Education and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education suggest grades earned from CDEP courses are configured into the high school GPA and weighted the same as Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
Grades received in CDEP courses will receive additional weight in the calculation of applicants' weighted GPA for admission into Massachusetts public higher education institutions. The additional weight will be the same as that given for grades earned in Advanced Placement courses for the purpose of calculating the high school GPA. See the Department of Higher Education's Admissions Standards Guidebook (.PDF) for more information on calculating the high school GPA.
CDEP courses are limited to those that would qualify under the MassTransfer Block. These are generally first- and second-year college courses that institutions regard as highly transferable. This provision, however, does not guarantee transfer of credits. Students should be advised to inquire about the transfer policy of the institution in which they plan to enroll after high school graduation.
Interested high school administrators and staff are encouraged to coordinate with the CDEP coordinator at the public higher education institution of interest (PDF Map) to arrange for a "contract course," a college course taught by college faculty on a high school campus, or for student enrollment in courses offered on the college campus or online. Arrangements must be made prior to the start of a new term, and interested parties are encouraged to start the process as early as possible.
High schools interested in arranging for a contract course should contact the institution of higher education several months prior to the start of the course and should be aware that not all institutions offer contract courses.
CDEP is just one of many different dual enrollment and early college programs and initiatives offered at Massachusetts' public colleges and universities. To avoid confusion when contacting a higher education institution about it, please refer to the program by its specific name: "Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program" or "CDEP."