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The value of concurrent enrollment in high school

MaryAnne NickleBy MaryAnne Nickle

A research article was published in September by the Community College Research Center looking at the long-term results of concurrent enrollment across the country. The study showed that of the students who have the experience of taking college classes in high school, 51% (Iowa students) will graduate from college with either an associate or bachelor degree within five years. And for students who enroll directly into a four-year college, 73% will complete an award.

That is exciting to Iowa Valley Community College District as we have been growing with dual enrollment over the years in partnership with our area high schools. The State of Iowa supported the establishment of dual credit through additional funding to the school districts for coursework, so we are able to offer courses at no cost to students. Among the states, Iowa has been above the national average in its support, and the results show that Iowa is also a leader in the results, with a higher percentage of students earning degrees after high school concurrent enrollment courses. Currently IVCCD has high school students getting both high school and college credit in classes taught on-site at high schools, on our campuses, and online.

Some of our classes occur at the high school with a high school teacher who meets our qualifications to teach college courses. We are accredited by the National Association of Concurrent Education Partnerships (NACEP) to offer college classes at high schools taught by these teachers. Our commitment is that these courses taught by high school teachers are the same rigor and content that would be offered at our campuses. We ensure this by assigning a college instructor as a liaison to work with the high school teacher to support and assist in providing the instruction at the college level.

Many students go on to receive their associate degree at the community college prior to moving on to a four-year school. This is a wise choice because strong articulation agreements between the community college and the Regent universities allow students to transfer a degree smoothly as a block of the first two years. Less than a degree, although helpful, can sometimes be reviewed for transfer on a course-by-course basis.

Within our District, we have had a handful of students each year who receive their associate degree a few weeks before they graduate from high school. In general, this doesn’t happen without parental support for some summer courses. However, it is possible, thus saving the cost of the first two years of a bachelor degree program.

MaryAnne Nickle is the Dean of Iowa Valley Community College Grinnell.

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