- Associated Press - Saturday, October 17, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) - A new program allowing Ohio students to earn college credit before high school graduation is doing better than its predecessor.

Thousands of middle school and high school students in Ohio are earning college credit for free through College Credit Plus, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reports (https://bit.ly/1QrKtle ).

Participation has increased among eligible 7th through 12th graders since the program replaced Post-Secondary Enrollment Options because the state required public colleges and school districts to participate and addressed funding issues. Under the new program, students can earn years of college credit by the time they receive their high school diploma.

Only 5 percent, or 30,000, high school students in the state participated in the former program. Now higher education institutions around northeast Ohio are seeing significant increases.

The number of College Credit Plus students at Lakeland Community College has jumped from 821 last year to 1,029 now.



The University of Akron has seen a 30-percent increase, from 1,200 students last year to 1,628 students participating this semester. Vice Provost Todd Rickel said the school is working with more than 70 school districts.

And at Cuyahoga Community College, the number of middle school and high school students enrolled in the program is up 35 percent over last year, said Tim Dorsey, the director of enrollment management.

Lauren McGarity, director of special policy projects at the Ohio Department of Higher Education, said that all students in the program will be tracked by the state to see how they fare.

“Ultimately the point is for high school students who are college ready to have the opportunity to jump-start their college and get their credit paid for,” she said.

College Credit Plus gives school districts and colleges the flexibility to negotiate agreements to share state funding. Most colleges are being reimbursed at $40 per credit hour. Private colleges can participate in the program.

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Information from: Northeast Ohio Media Group, https://www.cleveland.com

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