Today’s students are entering the community college world sooner and going on to enter four-year universities quicker, according to Moraine Valley Community Dual-Credit Coordinator Alexandria Elvira.
Elvira said during the Moraine Valley Community College Board of Trustees meeting on March 9 that the popularity of dual-credit enrollment courses continues to increase each school year.
Dual Credit provides an opportunity for high school students to take college courses for credit at both the college and high school levels. The classes are taught by high school instructors qualified to teach college-level courses. Classes are held at the students' high school during the regular school day.
Benefits include: exposure to college-level rigors while still enrolled in high school, reduction of time and costs toward a college degree, introduction to and development of career pathways, and a jump-start on earning post-secondary credentials.
“With our dual-credit courses, we believe students are 20 percent more successful once they transfer to a four-year college or university,” Elvira said.
High school students can also earn college credit through dual enrollment, which involves students enrolling in on-campus courses at Moraine Valley while still in high school and requires high school authorization. Also, Moraine Valley does grant college credit for students who earn specified scores on Advanced Placement exams.
During the 2015 fall semester, Moraine received 38,000 hard copies of dual-credit enrollment forms. The college has since implemented an online application hoping to increase enrollment even more.
“The students who participate in the dual-credit program have quicker access to a college opportunity,” Elvira said.
The program began over 10 years ago and the partnership expanded to include private high schools, starting with Brother Rice, which has a growing dual-credit program that includes 80 students in its IT Essentials class.
Currently, there are 27 public and private in-district and out-of-district high schools involved in the dual-credit program, including Andrew, Brother Rice, Sandburg, Queen of Peace, Stagg, Evergreen Park, Reavis, Shepard, Eisenhower, Providence, Argo, Richards, Oak Lawn, Marist, Mount Carmel and Mother McAuley.
Morton College and St. Laurence, St. Rita and Nazareth Academy high schools are planning to be added during the 2016 school year.
Moraine Valley faculty teaches Orientation to IT Professions and Security Awareness. The high school teachers then instruct other selected Local Area Network classes at their respective schools while receiving support from Moraine Valley. Not only are these students earning college credit, but easing their future transition to college.
“We have high schools that have been reaching out to us that are further outside of our district as well,” said Sylvia Jenkins, president of Moraine Valley Community College.
The Basic Nursing Assistant Program is the most popular dual-credit program at the college, according to Elvira.
The college holds annual dual-credit articulation meetings to foster the relationship between Moraine and each individual high school.
“Through these meetings, we are able to identify high schools and their course offerings,” Elvira said.
New programs are on the horizon for the program’s future, including culinary arts, math and science.