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College Credit Plus: Giving Kids a Leg Up

Tens of thousands of Ohio students are tackling college courses before their high school graduation. (nastya_gepp/Pixabay)
Tens of thousands of Ohio students are tackling college courses before their high school graduation.
(nastya_gepp/Pixabay)
March 20, 2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A program that helps Ohio middle-school and high-school students get a jump start on their college degree soon will be entering its fifth year.

College Credit Plus is a dual-enrollment program that offers seventh- through 12th-grade students the opportunity to take courses for free from public colleges or universities. Michele Scott Taylor, chief program officer for College Now, which connects students in the Greater Cleveland area to post-secondary opportunities, said College Credit Plus gives students a leg up on their college career before they graduate from high school.

"It can reduce their college costs and it saves you time to completion of a certificate or degree," she said. "Some students can leave college with an associate's degree already completed, and then, for the right student, it gives them confidence that they can actually do college-level work."

The program began in 2015 with more than 54,000 students, and enrollment grew to 74,000 participants by the third year. Public school students interested in College Credit Plus for the 2019-2020 school year must submit a letter of intent by April 1.

Laura Padgett, assistant director of the College Credit Plus program at the Ohio Department of Higher Education, said there are efforts to increase program participation for under-represented students. Colleges and high schools can partner on innovative programs and request a waiver of one or two requirements in order to attract applicants of color, those who are economically disadvantaged and other marginalized groups.

"We would really love to see more of those students taking advantage of college-level opportunities while they're still in high school," she said, "to help boost their confidence and show them that they can do this kind of work and get on those pathways to a brighter future and a better career."

Taylor said students can learn about program requirements from their school district and their prospective college or university. She said organizations such as College Now also can assist.

"We're in schools every day," she said, "sharing the information, advising as to what a student should or should not do, and then connecting them to the appropriate people and processes they need to complete in order to participate."

More information is online at ohiohighered.org/ccp.

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Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest, and funded in part by The George Gund Foundation.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH