Southeast gives high school students an early start with dual credit, saving time and money

Published 11:59 am Friday, February 14, 2020

Kentucky’s dual credit college tuition program – which allows students to start earning college credits while they are still in high school – is providing a path to college or work while saving Kentuckians millions of dollars. Last year alone, Kentucky families saved $18 million through dual credit scholarships, which are offered by the state.

“Our dual credit scholarship program not only saves students and their families money, but it also provides a smoother path to college and, in the long run, job Opportunities,” said Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College President Vic Adams.

At Southeast, over 1,000 local high school students took dual-credit courses in fall 2019. These numbers underscore the college’s efforts to raise college attainment in the community and to place graduates in the workforce at faster rate than in the past. Southeast graduate and former dual-credit student Taylor Thomas says that the program gave her a head start towards dental school.

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“By the time I graduated from Bell High, I already had 33 college hours under my belt,” said Thomas. “Dental school normally takes eight years, but now I have only six ahead of me. At first I was scared, but now I am thankful that I had this opportunity.”

Thomas graduated from Southeast last May with an associate of science degree, and she began her dental program at the University of Kentucky in the fall.

While dual credit is available through all of Kentucky’s public universities, it is particularly popular and successful for students at Southeast and the other 15 colleges of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS).

Over the last five years, KCTCS has nearly doubled the number of dual credit students, and today, 20,000 students are enrolled in a KCTCS college dual-credit program. Because tuition at Southeast is less than half of the tuition charged by Kentucky’s public universities, Southeast students take on significantly less student debt than other college students in the state. Some even graduate from high school with certificates or an associate degree through the dual credit program.

According to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, dual credit has been linked to higher student GPA’s and has a positive impact for minority, low income and academically unprepared students who benefit from being exposed to college courses while still in high school.

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