Earn College Credit in High School

Kirkwood partners with local school districts to offer opportunities for high school students to enroll part-time in college-level courses. Credits earned through these partnerships count toward a student’s high school diploma AND their future college degree – all at NO COST to your or your family!

Most classes can be taken either at a Kirkwood location or a partnering high school, so there are many ways for area students to get a jump start on their college degree at Kirkwood. 

You can test the waters with one or two unrelated college-level courses, or complete a packaged sequence of career-focused courses in a Kirkwood Career Academy.

Apply for Dual Credit Explore Career Academies

Your best first step will be to talk to your high school guidance counselor. They'll talk you though important information and make sure you meet all necessary requirements – you may have to be a certain age, have a minimum GPA, and may also need permission from your parents and/or school administrators.

Next steps:

More questions? Kirkwood's Admissions staff would be happy to talk through your situation and point you in the right direction.

Contact Admissions

Certain College Credit in High School programs have different qualifications that must be met – such as age, prerequisite courses, and minimum performance measures on placement testing.

To find out if a student meets Kirkwood’s enrollment requirements, they should begin by meeting with their high school counselor to explore their options. 

Other Indicators of Success

Our courses fit into a variety of different programs and will transfer to most colleges, including guaranteed transfers to Iowa, Iowa State, and UNI.

How Courses Transfer

Alburnett Jr./Sr. High School

Anamosa High School

Belle Plaine Jr./Sr. High School

Benton Community High School

Calamus-Wheatland High School

Cascade High School

Cedar Rapids Community Schools

Center Point Urbana High School

Central City High School

Clear Creek Amana High School

English Valley High School

Highland High School

HLV Junior-Senior High School

Iowa City Community Schools

Iowa Mennonite School

Iowa Valley High School

Keota High School

Liberty High School 

Linn Mar High School

Lisbon High School

Lone Tree High School

Maquoketa Valley High School

Marion High School

Midland High School

Mid-Prairie High School

Monticello High School

Mount Vernon High School

North Cedar High School

North-Linn High School

Prairie High School

Regina High School

Solon High School

Springville High School

Tipton Community High School

Vinton-Shellsburg High School

Waco High School

Washington High School

West Branch High School

West Delaware High School

Williamsburg High School

Winfield-Mount Union Jr./Sr. High School

Xavier High School

Why Earn College Credit in High School? 

Big Cost Savings

Dual-enrolled students earn both high school and college credit at NO COST to them or their families! Last year alone, families saved $5.1 million in college tuition by earning college credit in high school. 

Real-world Experience

Primarily designed for high school juniors and seniors, Career Academy programs focus on career exploration while also aligning with industry workforce needs. Students can even earn industry-recognized certifications for immediate employment opportunities.

Kirkwood consistently meets with industry representatives to find out what skills they want to see in new employees, and then builds academy programs specifically around that information. 

The Proof Is in the Numbers

According to a recent Iowa State University study, students entering college with prior college credit have:

  • Higher grade point averages (their first semester and year)
  • Higher graduation rates
  • Graduate in less time than students without prior college credit
  • Change majors less than students without prior college credit
  • Add minors and second majors more than students without prior college credit
Mckenzie Feld

“I came from a small school and knew that transitioning to Kirkwood would offer me many opportunities in the classroom, as well as set me up for a successful future.”

Mckenzie Feld,
Robins, Iowa

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the attendance policy?

Students are expected to attend all sessions of classes for which they are enrolled. Absences do not lessen student responsibility for meeting the requirements of any class. Students are expected to know the attendance policy of each of their instructors. Failure to abide by an instructor’s attendance policy may adversely impact their grade.

Kirkwood faculty use educational experiences to facilitate learning, and students learn by engaging in those experiences. Attendance and engagement in all scheduled classes is regarded as integral to learning and is expected of all students. 

Kirkwood faculty members provide expectations for learning and attendance in their course syllabi. Students are accountable for the learning outcomes for each session, including sessions that have been missed. Assessments of learning that occur during an absence may or may not be made up, depending on the policies of the instructor and the nature of the absence.

If I’m taking a class at a Kirkwood location, do I have to attend class if my high school is scheduled to have the day off?

If your high school has a scheduled day off, check the Kirkwood Academic Calendar to see if classes are scheduled. If they are, then you are required to attend even if your high school does not have class. The exception would be if Kirkwood is closed due to bad weather. 

Do I attend class when the weather is bad?

If your course is held at a Kirkwood location and Kirkwood is closed due to inclement weather, your class will be considered cancelled. Sign up to receive alerts – including weather related delays and cancellations from Kirkwood. If the “home” school district (the district the regional center is located in) or your school is closed due to weather, you should not travel to Kirkwood for class.

What if I’m sick or need to miss my Kirkwood class?

Absences need to be communicated in advance with your instructor. Authorization of an excuse is at the discretion of the individual faculty member and is subject to the standard appeal process.

What if my high school has a scheduled early out for something 
like professional development?

If your course is at a Kirkwood location, you will be required to attend class.

What happens if I’m disciplined or suspended from my high school?

Your high school has allowed you to participate in a concurrent enrollment class and they will determine, with input from Kirkwood staff, if you will be allowed to continue taking your concurrent enrollment class.

Is transportation provided?

Some school districts provide transportation between your high school and a Kirkwood location, but Kirkwood does not. To see if transportation is available at your high school, please contact your high school counselor.

How do I obtain my grades?

Your instructors are required to provide a midterm grade and a final grade in EagleNet. If you want to know your grade at another time during the term, contact your instructor.

Can my parents see my grades or talk to someone at Kirkwood about my 
concurrent credit in high school courses?

If you are taking college credit classes, your parent(s)/guardian(s) may only have access to your grades, and speak with someone about your academic progress, if you have a student-signed FERPA Consent for Release of Education Record Form on file. If you would like a FERPA form to grant permission, they are available in each Kirkwood County/Regional Center office. Learn more about FERPA

What is the Kirkwood grading scale?

Kirkwood uses a 4.0 grading system. Each course syllabus will have more detailed grading information.

What if my school uses standards-based grading?

For your Kirkwood classes, each instructor will outline their grading system in the class syllabus.

What if I’m doing poorly in my class?

Begin with a conversation with your instructor. They can help you assess what to do to improve your overall performance in the course. After that, a conversation with Kirkwood staff and your high school counselor would be helpful.

If I’m taking a year-long course and I don’t pass my first semester, can I continue?

If you do not pass one or more classes, you may not be able to automatically move into the following semester. A meeting between you, your high school counselor and Kirkwood staff will be held to discuss next steps.

Do concurrent credit courses transfer?

Concurrent credit courses transfer the same as traditional college courses. There are hundreds of students each year that transfer their concurrent credit courses to two-and four-year institutions in Iowa and across the country. We would encourage you to meet with an advisor from the institution you plan to attend to ensure the credit(s) you earn will transfer.

How do I get my Kirkwood transcripts sent to another college?

Once final grades have been posted, you can request your official transcript at no cost. Request it online or contact the One Stop Office at 319-398-7600.

What if I have an IEP or 504 Plan for a learning or physical disability?

If you have an IEP or 504 Plan, you are eligible for support services and can request reasonable accommodations to assist with your coursework. Examples of reasonable accommodations include tutoring, textbooks on CDs, alternative testing, taped lectures and note-taking aids. If you require accommodations, complete the “Accommodations Request Form” application available online. 

Can I get a tutor for my class?

Tutoring is available through Kirkwood at no cost. All Kirkwood students can receive tutoring for two classes each semester, up to two hours per week for each class, if a tutor is available for your course.

How do I qualify to participate in a concurrent enrollment class?

Meet with your high school counselor to determine if you meet Kirkwood’s enrollment requirements and that of the concurrent enrollment class you wish to take (age, any required prerequisite courses, and minimum performance measures on Iowa assessment and/or Kirkwood-recognized placement exams).

What does “concurrent” credit mean?

Concurrent credit means you receive both high school and college credit for your Kirkwood course, and the final grade is reported on both the high school and official college record.

What is a prerequisite? How do I know if my class has a prerequisite?

A prerequisite means there is a requirement students must meet prior to getting into a particular class or program. For example, the course Composition II has a prerequisite of Composition I. This means you must first take and successfully complete Composition I before you can start Composition II. Check with your high school counselor and Kirkwood staff to determine if the program you are interested in has any prerequisites.

Is there a maximum amount of college credit that can be earned in a school year?

A student can earn up to 23 post-secondary credit hours from Kirkwood in one academic year (during the fall and spring semesters), paid for by their high school. Students can self-pay for additional credits.

Do Career Academies include certifications?

Industry-recognized credentials/certification may be obtained after the successful completion of a few of our Career Academies. They differ by program and are discussed in greater detail at the mandatory student orientation.

How does participating in a college class affect my athletic/activity eligibility?

College classes taken at Kirkwood are considered concurrent enrollment courses. This means you receive both high school and college credit for each course. If you fail your Kirkwood class, you will not be eligible for athletic and other extracurricular activities at your high school for a period of time. More information can be obtained from your high school counselor about this “no pass no play” guideline.

If I’m enrolled in a Career Academy, can I change programs mid-year?

Each academy is a yearlong commitment so changing programs is not possible after the completion of one semester. Some academies have prerequisites that follow a fall-to-spring sequence to meet requirements.

Can I drop my academy class?

It depends on a variety of factors; therefore, you should work directly with your high school counselor and Kirkwood staff.

Does poor performance in a concurrent enrollment class affect future financial aid eligibility?

It may. Federal regulations require that students make reasonable academic progress in order to continue receiving financial aid. Progress is measured by the student’s cumulative grade point average, percentage of credit hours earned in relation to those attempted, and the length of the academic program. Find more information here. 

What do I do when my course is over?

When the semester concludes you will need to return any textbook(s) that may have been provided to you by Kirkwood. Your final grade for each course can be found in EagleNet and will be sent to your high school counselor.

How do I get my books?

Kirkwood or your high school will loan you textbooks to use (free of charge), while enrolled in concurrent enrollment courses. Textbooks must be returned at the end of the course.

What if I lose or damage my book(s)?

If you lose or damage your book(s), you will be charged the cost to replace it.

What is EagleNet?

EagleNet is Kirkwood’s student information services portal. Students can access a variety of important information including class schedules, degree audits, financial aid information, grades and more. Your k-number and student password are needed to log in. Visit EagleNet for more information.

What is TALON?

TALON is a suite of online tools that facilitate e-learning for Kirkwood students. Instructors in face-to-face courses often deliver materials and extend your learning with TALON. Most online courses take advantage of the organization and interaction the software delivers to create a positive and supportive learning environment.