“We wanted to do something to improve that transition,” says Brand, who has been teaching dual credit classes for nearly five years.
When Brand started teaching at Delta, a high school in Delaware County, Indiana, the dual credit courses were offered as advanced placement (AP).
AP courses are equally challenging, but the credits do not always transfer. Plus, a student who doesn’t pass end-of-year exams doesn’t earn credit for the course.
Ball State’s High School-to-College Transition Program for Dual Credit allows students to take courses through their high school or online while completing high school requirements and earning college credit simultaneously, if they pass the course.
“Students have an opportunity to experience the rigors of college while still being in a supportive high school environment,” says Brand, who is convinced that dual credit students are more confident when they enter college.
Last year, Delta students earned more than 865 college credits among a senior class of just 208 students. Most of them earned six to 24 credits.
Since Delta students can potentially earn up to 38 credit hours, they can earn about a year’s worth of college of credits before they ever step foot on a university campus, and their credits are accepted at almost all Indiana colleges.
Tuition for dual credit courses is significantly reduced compared to normal college costs. For example, undergraduates who are Indiana residents will spend just over $4,000 per semester for 12-18 hours tuition at Ball State. By comparison, dual credit students will spend just $25 per credit hour for on-site courses identified as “priority” courses by the state of Indiana, $250 each for all other on-site courses, and $350 each for online dual credit courses.
For high school students with limited financial resources, who don’t see college as an option, dual credit is an opportunity to seriously consider the possibilities of college, says Brand.
“For all students, the ability to take dual credit courses in high school takes away some of the fear of the unknown,” he says. “Students can see that college can be a reality for them.
“Once they are invested, they are also more likely to continue down this pathway.”
The advantages of dual credit extend to participating high school teachers who become adjunct faculty members for Ball State, benefit from Ball State resources, and watch their students progress.
“I get to really know my students here [at Delta],” says Brand. “I get to see them apply to the university and get scholarships, and I get to see the success.”
His favorite success story is of a student who earned 30 credits and saved about $17,000 before he started college. The student finished his undergraduate degree in three years and went on to medical school.
“He attributes much of his success in college to the academic preparation he received through his dual credit courses, which gave him a real edge in college,” says Brand.
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