Ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary an­nounces new dual en­roll­ment pi­lot

Maryland Independent - - News - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @JamieACIndyNews

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment is mak­ing it eas­ier for South­ern Mary­land high school stu­dents to take dual en­roll­ment classes at the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land with a new pro­gram which will al­low them to ap­ply for Pell grants for stu­dents in need.

The pro­gram was an­nounced Mon­day at CSM by U.S. Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion John B. King Jr. CSM is one of 44 higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions across the coun­try which have been se­lected to par­tic­i­pate in the pi­lot pro­gram, King said.

“One of the goals of this ad­min­is­tra­tion is to pro­vide in­creased ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents,” King said in an­nounc­ing the $22 mil­lion pro­gram. “This is about con­nect­ing stu­dents with the col­lege en­vi­ron­ment, what col­lege will be like, what it will feel like to be suc­cess­ful as a col­lege stu­dent, so that they can see a path to­ward their fu­ture in higher ed­u­ca­tion.”

Dual en­roll­ment stu­dents par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gram will ap­ply for the Pell grant us­ing the same Free Ap­pli­ca­tion for Fed­eral Stu­dent Aid, or FAFSA, form that col­lege stu­dents use, said Yuanxia Ding, se­nior pol­icy ad­vi­sor to Un­der­sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion Ted Mitchell.

CSM pro­vides dual en­roll­ment classes — classes where high school ju­niors and se­niors take col­lege cour­ses for high school and col­lege credit — to stu­dents in Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert coun­ties.

Dual en­roll­ment can take the form of classes taught on col­lege cam­puses, classes taught by col­lege fac­ulty at high schools and classes taught re­motely through telep­res­ence tech­nol­ogy, known as CSM Ac­cess.

“Stu­dents can in­ter­act di­rectly with a fac­ulty mem­ber through our telep­res­ence tech­nol­ogy,” said Brian Ham­mond, CSM di­rec­tor of ad­mis­sions. “Ev­ery­one felt like they were in a large, in­ter­ac­tive class­room.”

The Col­lege and Ca­reer Readi­ness and Col­lege Com­ple­tion Act of 2013 ex­panded the role of com­mu­nity col­leges in al­low­ing high school stu­dents to take dual en­roll­ment classes.

“Dual en­roll­ment al­lows stu­dents to see them­selves as col­lege stu­dents, and not in­ci­den­tally to ac­cu­mu­late cred­its that can help shorten the time to their de­gree and re­duce the costs of higher ed­u­ca­tion,” Mitchell said.

Un­der the 2013 law, col­leges charge tu­ition to the lo­cal school boards; school boards are al­lowed to re­coup those costs from stu­dents, ex­cept for those stu­dents el­i­gi­ble for Free and Re­duced Meals. Other costs, such as books and ac­tiv­ity fees, are not cov­ered un­der the law and are the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the stu­dent.

“We all know that tu­ition is just a part of what it costs to be en­rolled in col­lege. Text­books, fees, trans­porta­tion — we know that those el­e­ments can some­times pre­vent broader par­tic­i­pa­tion,” Mitchell said. “Through this pro­gram, we hope to make Pell grants avail­able to dual en­roll­ment stu­dents to help de­fray those costs as well.”

Dur­ing Mon­day’s an­nounce­ment, King par­tic­i­pated in a round­table dis­cus­sion with CSM Pres­i­dent Bradley Got­tfried, en­roll­ment staff from Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert county school sys­tems, and past and cur­rent dual en­roll­ment stu­dents.

Got­tfried said that dual en­roll­ment cour­ses are a great way to in­tro­duce stu­dents to col­lege who may not have been think­ing that col­lege was in their fu­ture.

“For stu­dents who are un­sure about go­ing to col­lege, this can help bridge the gap,” added Ali­cia Jones, su­per­vis­ing school coun­selor for Charles County Pub­lic Schools.

Tak­ing dual en­roll­ment classes in high school can also help re­duce the costs of col­lege fur­ther on. A stu­dent could com­plete their first year of col­lege by the time they grad­u­ate high school, Got­tfried said.

Tierra Har­ris of Hol­ly­wood, a high school se­nior, said dual en­roll­ment was some­thing she jumped on when she had the chance.

“In the long run, it’s cheaper, it saves money, it saves time,” Har­ris said.

Hassan Yousaf of Hugh­esville, a CSM stu­dent who took CSM Ac­cess classes dur­ing high school, said the costs can be pro­hib­i­tive for many stu­dents.

“As a col­lege stu­dent, we can take ad­van­tage of schol­ar­ships,” Yousaf said. “But com­ing at it as a high school stu­dent, the cost can be a real im­ped­i­ment.”

Tay­lor Mutch­ler of Hunt­ing­town, a high school se­nior, said she has earned 27 col­lege cred­its through dual en­roll­ment at CSM. She said she pre­ferred tak­ing dual en­roll­ment classes to Ad­vanced Place­ment classes. AP classes are taught by high school teach­ers, and stu­dents can earn some col­lege credit by get­ting a “3” or higher on the an­nual AP exam.

“Sup­pose I was hav­ing a bad day and I got a ‘2’? I’d have lit­er­ally wasted a whole school year. This is bet­ter be­cause I want my work to be based on more than one exam. That was really very ap­peal­ing to me,” Mutch­ler said.

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