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Issue Briefs - Publication Number: IB99-7 June 4, 1999

Dual Credit Accumulation of Incoming Freshmen to the University of Missouri

Dual credit programs in Missouri have experienced substantial growth in the past several years in the number of credit hours being generated as well as in the number of students and schools participating. This Issue Brief examines the dual credit activity of incoming freshmen to the University of Missouri.

Dual credit programs are designed to bridge the gap between secondary and higher education by providing college courses to high-performing high school students. Students enrolled in dual credit courses receive both high school and college course credit simultaneously, giving high school students an opportunity to experience high-quality college-level coursework and avoid unnecessary duplication of courses as they move from high school to college.

This examination focuses on the dual credit activities of fall 1993 and fall 1998 first-time college students at the University of Missouri. Only first-time college students who graduated from a Missouri high school were included for the purposes of this study. In fall 1993, 34% of first-time college students across the University of Missouri system had earned credit in a Missouri dual credit program. In fall 1998 the percentage had risen to 47%. Of the four UM campuses, Columbia increased the most in terms of the percentage of incoming freshmen with dual credit, rising from 36% in fall 1993 to 52% in fall 1998. First-time college students at Kansas City and Rolla also showed increased participation in Missouri's dual credit programs, as the percentage of incoming freshmen with dual credit rose from 28% in 1993 to 40% in 1998 at Kansas City and from 38% to 48% at Rolla. At UM-St. Louis, the percentage remained about the same, although the number of students with dual credit increased from 1993 to 1998.

In addition to increased participation in Missouri's dual credit programs, the average number of hours being earned by participants increased from 1993 to 1998. At all four UM campuses, the mean and median dual credit hours earned increased over the five-year period, as did the highest total hours accumulated in dual credit. For the system as a whole, the mean dual credit hours earned by first-time college students increased from 10.0 in 1993 to 12.1 in 1998. UM-St. Louis saw the largest increase in mean hours, from 10.9 in 1993 to 13.8 in 1998. UM-Columbia and UM-Rolla experienced only slightly smaller increases in mean hours, from 9.9 to 12.1 and from 10.8 to 12.5, respectively. The mean at UM-Kansas City increased from 8.0 in 1993 to 9.4 for 1998 incoming freshmen. These means are for only those students with at least one dual credit hour. The highest total of dual credit hours earned by an individual also increased at all four campuses. The highest total earned by an incoming student in fall 1993 was 38 dual credit hours. In fall 1998, the highest total was 48 hours. Both of these totals occurred on the Columbia campus, although the highs at the other three campuses were not far below.

The total number of dual credit hours earned by first-time college students at the University of Missouri nearly doubled from 1993 to 1998.
  Total Dual Credit Hours of Incoming Freshmen
  Fall 1993 Fall 1998
UMC 8,395 19,544
UMKC 837 1,738
UMR 2,286 2,962
UMSL 1,542 2,201
UM-System 13,600 26,445


Summary of Dual Credit Activity of UM First-Time College Students
Who Graduated From A Missouri High School
  Fall 1993 Fall 1998
% of Incoming Freshemen with Dual Credit 34% 37%
Mean Dual Credit Hours Earned 10.0 12.1
Median Dual Credit Hours Earned 8 11
Highest Total Earned 38 48

Figure 1 shows cumulative headcounts of first-time college students earning dual credit hours. The cumulative distributions show how many students entered the University of Missouri with a dual credit hour total at a certain level or less. For example, Figure 1 shows that in fall 1993 slightly more than 1,000 incoming students to the University of Missouri System had 16 dual credit hours or less. In fall 1998, around 1,500 incoming students had a total of 16 dual credit hours or less. Cumulative distribution graphs are available for individual campuses by selecting the appropriate link to the right.

Reviewed 2011-04-12