One group of area high school students will now be able to receive college credit from East Central College at no cost.
During the December 2 meeting of the ECC Board of Trustees, the board voted unanimously to provide free dual credit classes to high school students who are on the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program. The first chance for eligible students to participate in this program will be the upcoming 2020 spring semester that begins January 21, 2020.
“We are removing the barrier for those students who don’t have access to traditional financial aid, and we are likely not serving a significant number of students because of the cost of tuition.” says Dr. Jon Bauer, president of East Central College.
Students taking dual credit classes are taught in their high school by a teacher from their school who is certified in that discipline by East Central College. The College grants the student college credit hours upon completion of the class.
Data show that students who participate in early college programs are more likely to enroll full-time after high school. Early college can shorten the time to degree and reduce the overall cost of higher education for students and their families.
Dr. Bauer believes the College has an opportunity to reach a greater number of students with this program. “Across our region, rates of participation in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program range from 18% to 55% of our area’s high school students. A large number or students are missing out on a wonderful opportunity because of a financial barrier. “
Every high school in the ECC service region is eligible. Union high school assistant principal Markie Lampkin attended the board meeting and praised the new program. “This is a great opportunity to enhance the lives and capabilities of our students. This is a tremendous chance and it may cause a student’s parents to be interested in attending East Central College.”
“There is a growing trend for institutions to offer free dual credit for high school students with financial need,” adds Dr. Bauer.
The new program aligns with ECC’s strategic plan, SOAR to 2024, which calls for an increase from 443 to 660 early college (dual credit) students by October 2024.
For more information about the Dual Credit program, contact Megen Strubberg at 636.584.6723 or Megen.Strubberg@eastcentral.edu.