More Oklahoma high school students are registering for college courses as funding for the state’s concurrent enrollment program shrinks.
The concurrent enrollment program has allowed high school juniors and seniors to earn college credits since 2005, The Oklahoman reported. Seniors are also eligible to receive tuition waivers for six credit hours per semester.
In the 2016-17 school year, nearly 19,400 of the state’s high school seniors completed more than 91,000 college credits and didn’t have to pay tuition fees. A State Regents for Higher Education report said the students saved an average more than $100 per credit earned.
Colleges and universities were reimbursed for about 27 percent of the cost.
For the 2017-18 year, schools are being forced to find new ways to keep the program going after the Legislature denied the Regents’ $6.4 million funding request.
“I’m losing over $1 million at 27 percent,” said Jack Bryant, president of Redlands Community College in El Reno. “I can’t continue to lose funding.”
Bryant said a $481,000 Rural Utility Services grant was used to install equipment in rural high schools so Redlands could broadcast classes to those communities.
“We’re not going to give up on concurrent,” Bryant said. “We’re going to have to figure out a way to revamp it.”
Oklahoma City Community College spokesman Cordell Jordan said students who take concurrent courses are more successful in college and are more likely to complete their degrees.
“Concurrent enrollment for community colleges is a great thing because it gives the student an affordable option to get a taste of college,” Jordan said.