CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,
Oct. 6, 2009 – Increasing numbers of area high school students are getting a jump-start on their college careers with a dual-credit program offered through a partnership between Southeast Missouri State University-Sikeston and their local school districts.
Currently, high school students from Bloomfield, Chaffee, Charleston, Kelly, Oran, Scott County Central and Sikeston are taking advantage of the program, which gives students the opportunity to earn both high school and early college credit for the same class.
The program has grown significantly over the past five years, from 26 students receiving 156 credit hours of coursework during the 2005-2006 school year, to 114 students who are earning a combined 624 hours of coursework this fall, according to David Fuemmeler, director of the dual credit program. Students can earn course credit in a variety of subjects, including English composition, college algebra, fundamentals of oral communication, United States political systems and American history.
Some courses are offered at the Sikeston campus, while others are offered online and on site at the participating high schools, according to Fuemmeler. The students, who are mostly juniors and seniors, take the courses during their regular school hours, and they also receive a 45 percent discount on tuition, he said.
“The demand is there,” Fuemmeler said. “More students want to start college coursework in high school. Having the opportunity to receive college credit before they ever start college is appealing to them. Students could reasonably earn up to 24 college hours if they take six hours both semesters of their junior and senior years,” he said.
Charleston High School Counselor Lisa Harris has seen her students benefit from the dual credit program in several ways.
“With many students now taking five years to complete an undergraduate degree, starting college with some credits under your belt is an advantage,” she said. “Other students in the program have been able to finish their degree in less than four years because of the dual enrollment hours they transferred in their freshman year of college. The discount on the dual credit courses also saves students a lot of money,” Harris added.
Students who take courses at the Sikeston campus have the added benefit of getting a small taste of the college experience before taking the plunge their freshman year, according to Harris.
“Allowing our students to go to the Sikeston campus for classes provides opportunities for them to take a wider variety of college classes, and to get experience in an actual college setting,” she said.