The senior year for many students is often viewed as relax time. Students work hard to get through their junior year, since that is when they are assessing college options. When they reach their senior year they have few credits left to finish. Many times they take less challenging courses or graduate early and leave.
Although recent proposals by state and local school leaders would require high school seniors to take more rigorous courses in math, science and language arts during their senior year, many students are choosing to do it on their own through a program called concurrent enrollment.
Concurrent enrollment allows students, usually during their senior year, to earn college credit while in high school. College courses are taught by high school teachers with masters degrees who are approved by a college to teach for college credit. Students can also take college classes through distance education over EdNet. These courses are taught by college professors through the use of interactive technology.
"One of the great advantages of concurrent enrollment is the saving in tuition realized by parents," says J.J. Grant, Emery District's supervisor of secondary education.
"During the 2002-2003 school year Emery School District students completed 387 college courses, earning 1,109 college credits at a savings of nearly $94,000 in tuition to parents. Last school year, 425 courses were taken for 1,239 college credits, a savings of over $99,000 in tuition," reported Grant. "In most cases the only cost to students is a one time recording fee of $20."
In some cases, a well prepared and academically disciplined high school student can complete an associates degree (two years of college) before graduating from high school. In these cases the savings to parents is even greater in that the state offers a New Century Scholarship to these students to cover the high percent of costs to finish their bachelor's degrees.
Kirk Sitterud, Superintendent of Schools for the Emery County School District indicates that "one of the major goals of the school district is to provide increasing opportunities for Emery District students to realize a greater level of equity in education with students in large urban areas of the state. This has always been the challenge of rural schools. One of the ways to accomplish this goal is to work to provide access for our students to higher level core academic courses through concurrent enrollment and advanced placement programs."
Additional information about concurrent enrollment classes and how it can benefit your children can be obtained by contacting your high school counseling office.