High School Students Earn College Credit at No Cost
Recent Middle College High School graduates
(Santa Ana, Calif.) The number of students participating in Dual Enrollment at Santa Ana College (SAC) has grown by 45 percent, which is a significant increase compared to last academic year allowing more high school students to complete their diploma and earn college credit at the same time.
College and Career Access Pathway (CCAP) partnership, a joint initiative of California Community Colleges and California Department of Education AB 288, SAC and public K-12 schools can develop educational pathways (e.g., dual enrollment opportunities). These pathways aim to foster seamless transition from high school to community college for career education or general education transfer, improve high school graduation rates, or help students achieve career readiness.
When students are dually enrolled in high school and college courses offered through CCAP agreements with their schools – there are no costs or fees to students or parents. All textbooks, supplies, materials and equipment are provided. This cultivates the opportunity for students to get an early start on college and save time and money toward a college degree.
SAC currently has CCAP agreements and dual enrollment memoranda of understandings with 18 public and private high schools throughout the cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove. In 2022–2023, about 4,500 high school students are participating in Dual Enrollment. These students have enrolled in nearly 10,000 college courses and are expected to earn over 30,000 college credits this academic year. SAC's Dual Enrollment program has doubled in size since 2021.
High school students are allowed to enroll in up to 15 community college credits or four courses per semester/term. Courses are taken at the high school campus and must be part of an academic program defined in a CCAP agreement. Students can also enroll in courses offered at the SAC campus or online with approval from their high school.
“Our Dual Enrollment courses are designed for high school students, specifically those who were not otherwise identified as college bound and have historically come from underrepresented groups, and are pivotal in improving student outcomes, said Dr. Annebelle Nery, SAC president. “We work collaboratively with high school administrators to develop Dual Enrollment courses/programs to ensure long-term benefits for students and local economic growth."
In June, a local high school senior who began participating in SAC's Dual Enrollment courses as a junior will graduate high school with a diploma, as well as two Career Education Certifications in Information Technology (IT) and Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). These certifications allow Angel to start a career as an entry-level IT technical support specialist with a starting salary of $49,000 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall employment for
computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow by 15 percent from 2021 to 2031, which is above average for all occupations.
“I enjoyed dabbling in computer science and my high school teacher recognized that and introduced me to the Dual Enrollment courses on campus," said high school senior Angel. “Recently, I was accepted to California State University, Pomona (Cal Poly), where I plan to begin my undergraduate studies in Computer Science. The great thing is this program instilled confidence in me and made me a strong candidate to enter the workforce or transition to college." This Fall, 18-year-old Angel will start Cal Poly, Pomona with about 30 college credits.
“SAC's Dual Enrollment program is one of the largest in California," said Associate Dean of Career Education and Dual Enrollment Matt Valerius. “In 2021 – 2022, high school students participating in SAC's Dual Enrollment experienced an 83 percent success rate, according to internal records." That's the number of students who successfully passed transferable, college-level courses.
Students who participate in Dual Enrollment have early exposure to college and access to academic resources and services. In addition to saving money, benefits to high school students include exploring career interests, jumpstarting careers and saving time.
In 2017, SAC was recognized by the California Coalition of Early and Middle Colleges (CCEMC), a statewide association dedicated to promoting and expanding early college opportunities for California high school students, as a community college leader in dual enrollment. CCEMC acknowledged SAC's partnership with Santa Ana Unified School District for significantly expanding early college access and developing innovative student support systems as best practices statewide.
Garden Grove Unified School District's first graduating cohort from the Santiago High School Early College Academy
SAC also has two signature programs for high school students, including Middle College High School, located on the college campus, and Early College Academy at Santiago High School in Garden Grove. Middle College High School was established in 1996 and serves about 380 students yearly. The Early College Academy launched in 2019, and in June 2023 the first cohort of 48 students will graduate with a high school diploma and over 30 transferable college credits.
To learn more about Dual Enrollment at Santa Ana College, please visit
sac.edu/dualenrollment or call (714) 564-6442. Questions about this press release can be directed to Dalilah Davaloz at