Dual Enrollment Courses Help High School Students Get a Head Start

 - by beckybarber

More than 1,000 high school students in Arizona and around the country are getting an affordable, efficient head start on their college degree by taking advantage of the dual enrollment program at Grand Canyon University.

In Arizona, students can take approved courses at their high school or attend an afterschool class on GCU’s campus. Out-of-state students can take advantage of dozens of courses that are available online.

Tuition is affordable at only $52.50 per credit. Arizona students receive full tuition waivers if they are eligible for free or reduced lunch or if they participate in a federal assistance program. As a private university, GCU does not require proof of residency, which has opened up dual enrollment opportunities to students who could not participate in the past.

According to educators teaching the courses, students taking dual enrollment courses are accomplishing their goals and retaining critical skills, which may help ease the transition to college and help students take big steps toward achieving their career goals.

“I believe in the integrity of the objectives and subject matter,” said Dee Dee Loredo, a GCU dual enrollment science teacher at

Northwest Christian School in Phoenix. “If it’s dual enrollment, my kids are going to go into the next level class and be prepared. They use the online college textbook and participate in adult-like learning activities. They have to be good students.”

Dee Dee Loredo

This is Joann Martin’s first year teaching GCU dual enrollment classes, although she has taught such courses for other colleges since becoming a teacher at Phoenix’s North High School five years ago. Martin is a strong advocate of the program.

“It’s very important for their transition into college or a university,” she said. “There’s nothing better for them than spending their junior and senior years earning college credits. Then they go into a community college or four-year university and have a few classes under their belt.”

Joann Martin

Leigh Critchley, executive director of non-degree studies at GCU, said the program has grown over the past four years, from fewer than 100 students enrolled in 2010 to about 1,000 students currently. What was once only available to local Christian schools is now available to public, charter and private schools across the country.

“Nationally, there are hundreds of high school students taking GCU courses online. Schools are able to expand their course catalogs, especially in the area of elective courses where there may not be enough interest to justify hiring a teacher. And the fact that students do not need to leave campus to attend community college courses is also beneficial to the overall school community,” Critchley said.

Morgan Denney, GCU director of dual enrollment and university effectiveness, said the high school teachers involved in dual enrollment are top-notch.

“I have so much respect and admiration for the dual enrollment teachers. They offer such selfless commitment and passion to their students,” Denney said. “Their enthusiasm is contagious.”

For more information about dual enrollment opportunities at GCU, contact Leigh Critchley at 602-639-6556 or