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As the cost of college continues to rise, more students are looking for the shortest–and cheapest–path to complete a degree.
Ohio already has a number of ways for high school students to take college level courses, but those don’t always count toward a degree.
In his recent review of the state budget, Governor John Kasich said he wants to improve the dual high school and college enrollment system and change the way the program is funded.
His ideas were based on a number of recommendations the state chancellor made to lawmakers last December.
Those ideas have now been written up into a new law—House Bill 487. The bill has yet to be vetted by the legislature, so it could go through different transformations.
But here are five ways HB 487 could make it easier to earn college credit in high school:
The bill redefines what dual enrollment means:
It allows students to get both high school level and college level credit that would actually show up on a college transcript. The program gets a name change too–it’s now dubbed College Credit Plus.
Improves the quality of courses, and who’s teaching them:
Any college level courses high schoolers take must actually appear in a college’s course catalog, count toward a degree or certificate, and must be taught by an instructor who has the same credentials that the college requires. That includes high school teachers.
Makes college credit available free of charge to public school students:
Currently, districts often pay the colleges for courses their 9th-12th graders may be taking, and some students pay for books and other fees. Under the new law, most students could take the college courses free of charge, or pay up to $33 per credit hour if a student wants to take classes at a private college.
Requires all districts and colleges to participate:
No public school districts could prevent their students from attending college courses, and no colleges could exclude students from coming. Each high school must develop a partnership with a college so that a student could earn as much as two semester’s worth of college credit.
Changes how districts pay for the program:
Currently, districts pay a portion of their state funding to the colleges for the amount of time periods their students attend. Charles See, a spokesperson in the chancellor’s office, says that can really add up when students spend most of their day on a college campus rather than at their high schools. Some districts have felt like they were losing money by sending students to take college classes. See says, under the new law, districts would pay the colleges a negotiated fee of $40 to up to $160 per credit hour, and keep a portion of their state dollars for those students.