More high schoolers taking dual credits before college

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – High school students taking dual credit courses and the number of credits they are earning is on a sharp rise in Kentucky, according to figures released by the Council on Postsecondary Education.

Statewide, nearly 35,000 high school students participated in dual credit courses through a college or university during the 2017-18 academic year, up 45 percent since the 2015-16 year.

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System saw dual credit students increase by 47 percent, from 11,303 in the 2015-16 year to 16,576 last year, while earned credit hours at KCTCS climbed 92 percent reaching 106,385 hours last year. One-fourth of the courses dealt with workforce skills, the rest were in general education.

At Kentucky’s public four-year universities, student participation grew 41 percent, from 9,188 in 2015-16 to 12,977 students in 2017-18. The credit hours these students earned grew 50 percent, a gain of 21,533 college credit hours during that time.

For the private colleges and universities sector, student participation rose 50 percent, from 3,463 to 5,214 total students over three years, while attempted credit hours increased 34 percent during the same period.

“We are very pleased with this phenomenal growth in dual credit,” said Council on Postsecondary Education Executive Vice President Aaron Thompson, “and we anticipate continued growth as more students and families experience the many benefits that dual credit offers.

Dual credit courses are cost-effective ways for students to earn both high school and college credit while still in high school. Studies show these courses increase the likelihood of college-bound and on-time college graduation.

Thompson credits the Dual Credit Scholarship Program as one of two key developments that led to greater participation. The scholarship covers the cost of two courses in either general education or career and technical education. Preliminary data for fall 2017-18 shows nearly $5.6 million in scholarship funding was distributed for dual credit.

The council’s Dual Credit Policy, adopted in 2015, contributed to the rise in dual credit participation because it pushed for an expansion of high-quality and affordable courses, and ensured transferability of credit among campuses.

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