House passes Paul bill on dual credit programs

OLYMPIA—Getting college credit just got a little easier for high school students in Washington state after the passage of House Bill 1146 on dual credit. 

“Dual credit programs give high school students the opportunity to earn high school and college credit at the same time,” said Rep. Dave Paul (D-Oak Harbor), author of the legislation. “This gives students a running start to life after high school as well as reduce student debt.” 

Unfortunately, many students don’t know about the dual credit options offered at their school.  

The bill requires public high schools to make students and their families aware of dual enrollment programs and the financial assistance available every academic term. 

“Dual-enrollment programs, like College in the High School and Running Start,” Paul said, “are some of the most effective options we have for reducing college expenses and the burden of student debt. These programs cost a fraction of what traditional college classes do, saving students and their families hundreds or even thousands of dollars,” 

Public Testimony in support of HB 1146 states emphasizes, “Anything that gets the word out about dual credit is great. The state has a goal of 70 percent postsecondary credential attainment for its residents. Dual credit can make a huge boost towards that goal because the program allows high school students to earn college credit that transfers the same way as any other credit.” 

Rep. Paul has long advocated to make dual enrollment programs available to everyone as far back as 2019 and proposed HB 1146 in January of 2023. It passed the House unanimously that year, 96-0, but didn’t make it out of the Senate. 

On Thursday, Jan. 11, the House passed the bill again by a vote of 97-0. 

It now goes to the Senate for consideration. 

“It’s unusual for the House to pass bills the first week,” Paul said. “We passed bills on the first day of session, the second day, and the third day of floor action. These are common-sense, bipartisan reforms that will improve the lives of people across the great state of Washington.”