High school students in Wisconsin will be able to earn college credits while still in high school under a new dual enrollment program announced recently by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the University of Wisconsin Colleges.
The Sparta Area School District has partnered with two Wisconsin colleges to begin providing similar opportunities to earn college credit this fall – a school year ahead of the UW System and state DPI’s proposal.
Through partnerships with the University of Wisconsin-Richland and Western Technical College, Sparta students will be able to earn 24 credits from the UW System and 12 to 16 credits from the Wisconsin Technical College System. A student who takes full advantage of the 24 potential credits through the district’s partnership with UW-Richland would pay $2,400. If they wait until they leave high school and take the same courses as an undergraduate, the cost would be between $6,480 and $7,200.
“This is a tremendous savings for our families that also allows us to provide students a jump start to college with intense mentoring being they are still at high school,” said Tom Steward, director of curriculum and instruction for the Sparta Area School District.
“We want to increase the readiness of Sparta High School students when they graduate. This will help them be prepared for the workplace or college,” Steward said.
Courses available for higher education credit will include Business Marketing Management, Engineering Design II, Anatomy and Physiology and Advanced Composition. High school counselors will be able to help interested students with registration. Sparta will utilize its staff members who have master’s degrees to teach the courses, which will also provide those staff members with additional opportunities for professional development.
Tony Evers, state superintendent of public instruction, and Ray Cross, chancellor of UW Colleges and UW-Extension, signed an agreement and announced the new statewide model for dually enrolling high school students in high school and UW Colleges courses. They said the new partnership would allow students across Wisconsin to access UW Colleges courses in their high schools via classroom teachers and online.
“We’re trying to better serve high school students by bringing our University of Wisconsin courses right into their high schools in a cost-effective way,” said Cross. “We’re committed to making these UW credits as affordable as possible for high school students, their families, and the school districts.”
“More students need the opportunity to take advanced courses and earn high school and college credit simultaneously,” Evers said. “This statewide dual enrollment agreement is a great way for students to get an introduction to college coursework and earn credits before even enrolling in a school of higher education. This will increase the number of students who graduate from high school ready for college and careers.”
Dual enrollment courses will be taught by trained high school teachers who are approved to teach college-level courses by the appropriate UW Colleges academic department, with ongoing support and professional development from their high school and the UW Colleges. The courses will be focused on high school juniors and seniors, but will be open to younger students as well. There will also be an online option for students who cannot take desired classes in their high schools.