More and more high school students district-wide are taking advantage of dual credit classes offered through Rend Lake College, thanks to the continuing cooperation of area administrators.
That includes 856 more students (duplicated count) taking 1,877 more credit hours during the 2005-06 academic year nearing conclusion than the previous year.
The reasons are obvious: a chance to get a head start on one’s college career; credit that can shorten a four-year college stay by a semester or more; reduction in travel costs to attend the local community college or for room-and-board as a student at the four-year level.
Did we mention savings? Perhaps the most important statistic of all.
High school students representing 12 in-district institutions saved their parents almost half-a-million dollars in future college costs in the past 12 months, not to mention all of the other expenses related to an extended college stay in years to come.
Rend Lake College makes dual-credit courses available at no cost to high school students who choose to make the most of their opportunity.
Overall, according to figures released by Interim Dean of Student Services Mary Bornheimer, 3,436 prep students in Rend Lake College District 521 earned 7,810 hours from dual-credit courses during Fiscal Year 2006, a savings of $484,220 based on the current tuition rate of $62 per credit hour.
Compared to the 2004-05 academic year, those numbers represent an increase in student enrollment of 33.2 per cent (2,580 during FY05). Credit hours were up 31.6 per cent (from 5,933) and savings amounted to a 43.2 per cent increase (from $338,181).
The recent savings of $484,220 is 215 per cent greater than the total two years ago, when the 2003-04 tuition was $52 per credit hour and the dual-credit savings amounted to $153,556.
With tuition increasing to $67 per credit hour beginning Fall Semester 2006, that figure based on similar numbers otherwise would be $523,270 a year from now. And there is no reason not to believe the totals won’t be considerably higher, considering the increasing acceptance and tremendous growth of the dual-credit program. A 13th in-district high school has indicated plans to allow its students to participate next school-year.
Approximately 55 different subject matters accounted for those 2005-06 totals. Dual-credit classes varied from Calculus to Weight Training, from Introduction to Plant Pruning to Introduction to Computers, from Medical Terminology to Modern Spanish and from Graphic Design to Health, Safety and Nutrition for Early Childhood Education.
Delivery methods include classes covering both one- and two-semesters in length, classes taught by high schools instructors utilizing a college-approved curriculum and textbook and classes taught by college instructors via distance learning into the high school setting during regular hours.
Rend Lake College President Mark S. Kern has referred to the dual-credit program as a “win-win” proposition from the outset.
High school students receive college credit for select courses which are taken during a normal school day and are also used to satisfy high school graduation requirements. These courses are offered by Rend Lake College tuition-free and at a reduced rate for textbook rental.
If a high school instructor teaches the course, RLC provides a mentor the first three semesters to help assure course material and grading standards are the same as what a college student would receive at Rend Lake College.
“The delivery methods and quality are the same,” Kern commented. “It’s a win-win situation. It allows the high school to offer a service that does not cost them anything. But the big winners are the students and their parents.”
Credit transfers to any Illinois college and most others. Savings are magnified when a student who has taken several dual-credit courses can shorten his or her stay at a university, reducing the cost of room-and-board as well as tuition.
Although Mt. Vernon Township High School was the only in-district institution not to increase its dual-credit numbers in the past year, MVTHS students still showed the way with highs of 1,055 students enrolled – thanks in large part to 881 students taking one-credit-hour Fitness Center classes – and 1,499 total credit hours for a savings to parents of $92,938.
Benton Consolidated H.S. boasted 417 students taking 1,326 credit hours for a savings of $82,212, while Christopher H.S. had the second-most dual-credit participants (548, with Weight Training accounting for 268) and ranks third with 1,245 credit hours and savings of $77,190.
The CHS enrollment increase was 196 per cent. But the greatest credit-hour and savings increases belonged to Sesser-Valier High School and its totals of 315 students (up 172%), 787 credit hours (up 189%) and savings of $48,794 (up 215%).
Other sizable jumps belonged to Webber Township High School with 93 students (86%), 306 credit hours (76%) and savings of $18,972 (91%) and to Pinckneyville Community High School with 328 students (40%), 971 credit hours (64%) and savings of $60,202 (78%).
Dual-credit enrollment was up 20.9 per cent at Wayne City H.S. (110), 18.7 per cent at Waltonville H.S. (108), 16.3 per cent at Hamilton County Senior H.S. (50), 13 per cent at Woodlawn H.S. (356, as well as a 29.6% increase in credit hours to 754) and 11.8 per cent at Thompsonville H.S. (38).
DUAL CREDIT CLASSES – REND LAKE COLLEGE DISTRICT – FY 2006
STUDENTS TOTAL NO. SAVINGS HIGH SCHOOL ENROLLED CR.HR. (@ $62 / CR. HR.)
Benton Consolidated High School 417 1,326 $82,212
Christopher High School 548 1,245 $77,190
Hamilton County Senior High School 50 119 $ 7,378
Mt. Vernon Township High School 1,055 1,499 $92,938
Pinckneyville Community High School 328 971 $60,202
Sesser-Valier High School 315 787 $48,794
Thompsonville High School 38 124 $ 7,688
Victory Christian Academy - Mt. Vernon 18 54 $ 3,348
Waltonville High School 108 314 $19,468
Wayne City High School 110 311 $19,282
Webber Township High School 93 306 $18,972
Woodlawn High School 356 754 $46,748
TOTALS FOR 2005-06 (Tuition $62) 3,436 7,810 $484,220
TOTALS FOR 2004-05 (Tuition $57) 2,580 5,933 $338,181
TOTALS FOR 2003-04 (Tuition $52) 2,953 $153,556