Dual enrollment rising in Acadiana
Last school year in Lafayette Parish, 241 high school students dually enrolled in college — at either University of Louisiana at Lafayette or South Louisiana Community College — and were receiving college and high school credit in a college-level course.
In the 2010-11 school year, Louisiana Department of Education figures show, high school students statewide logged 28,856 dual-enrollment courses, a 134 percent increase from 2007-08, when 12,320 courses were taken. Figures for how many students are involved in dual enrollment were not readily available.
Local colleges work together to ensure students connect with postsecondary options, said Paul Bourgeois Jr., SLCC college and careers transition coordinator.
“It’s a group effort to help students get as much postsecondary education as they can in high school. It’s not a competition,” he said.
Both SLCC and ULL offer students the option to take college courses on either a high school campus or a college campus.
In addition to the school district’s 241 dually enrolled high school students, another 200 were enrolled at SLCC as part of a dual-enrollment initiative called the Early College Academy, a partnership between the Lafayette Parish School System and SLCC that began four years ago. Last month, the first class of 30 ECA graduates received their high school diplomas and associate degrees in general studies.
The school system hopes to build on that success with a new partnership with SLCC that has the college providing career and technical education courses that lead to industry-based certification and college credit for its Thibodaux Career and Technical High School students.
In the spring, 144 Lafayette Parish students were dually enrolled in technical education programs through SLCC, Bourgeois said.
Dual enrollment benefits the student as much as colleges, college officials say.
“We use this as a recruitment tool,” said Amanda Doyle, director of ULL’s University College, which oversees the program.
At least 62 percent of its dually enrolled high school students from the fall 2010 and spring 2011 semesters stayed on as full-time freshmen, Doyle said.
“For us, that’s a big deal,” she said.
At ULL, public-school students don’t pay tuition for their first course, but are charged $30 per credit hour for additional coursework, Doyle explained. Home-school and private-school students pay the $30 per credit hour tuition for all coursework, she said.
This summer, 11 high school students are dually enrolled and taking classes on the campus. In the spring, 190 students were dually enrolled, taking classes either on ULL’s campus or on high school campuses with instructors who have university credentials.
Doyle said high schools in Acadia, Lafayette, Vermilion, Iberia and St. Mary parishes offer the “on-site” dual enrollment option.
She said the university hopes to expand the on-site option.
Public funding helps absorb some of the cost for dual-enrollment programs. Although less funding is anticipated in the upcoming fiscal year for dual-enrollment reimbursement, ULL plans to continue to offer the first course at no charge to public school students, Doyle said.
The funding issue presents another opportunity for greater collaboration, Bourgeois said.
“We’ll all have to work harder together to make sure it works,” he said.
Marsha Sills covers education in Acadiana for The Advocate. She can be reached at email@example.com.