Sinclair Community College has invested an extra $100,000 in its dual credit programs that allow some students to earn college credit without leaving their high schools.
This fall, 538 students are enrolled in in-person or online Sinclair classes offered at 16 high schools.
That is a dramatic increase from last fall, when 77 students were taking dual enrollment classes. And the college expects to have served more than 1,000 high school students by the end of this school year.
“Students who have the opportunity to take college courses, it’s a big advantage,” said Michael Carter, superintendent of school and community partnerships at Sinclair.
“Research shows they’re more likely to graduate from college when they take college courses in high school,” he said. “I think there’s a huge benefit in seeing you can do the work while you’re in high school. It gives you that confidence.”
Participating students also fulfill their high school requirements while taking the college courses.
Sinclair bills the schools for the cost of tuition and fees, and seven districts pay the cost. One district pays if a student is low income and qualifies for free or reduced lunch and eight have parents or students pay for the courses, according to the college.
Through the investment from Sinclair into its scholarship fund, the cost is $10 per credit hour for a Montgomery County student.
“If you get a semester’s worth of college credit in before you graduate from high school, you may save upwards of $5,000 in college tuition, which is big,” he said.
Sinclair also has other programs for high school students, including post-secondary enrollment which allows students to take classes on campus, seniors to sophomores and others.
The college’s goal is to increase the number of students in the dual enrollment program and concurrent enrollment programs in the future and expand into more schools.
“We think this can be a huge economic driver, simply by encouraging students to take college credit,” Carter said.