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HCCF continues dual-credit opportunity


May 21, 2014 | 10:00 AM

One of the most expensive stages of a person's life is their college years. Luckily, for students in this county, the Harrison County Community Foundation's dual-credit class program helps families save on college costs by allowing them to secure as much as a two-year associate college degree before receiving their high school diploma.

Steve Gilliland, the Foundation's CEO, said it is now possible to complete the two-year degree plan at Corydon Central High School.

"We're excited about that," Gilliland said as he gave a report at last week's Harrison County Board of Commissioners meeting. "Dual credit is proving to be a very cost-effective way to help students reach their continuing education goals ... "

Dual-credit classes are taken in high school for both high school and college credit. The Foundation has provided $100,000 in each of the past two years to expand dual-credit classes in Harrison County. Some of that funding was used to obtain necessary classroom equipment but most has been used to offset tuition and book costs for students.

During the fall 2013 semester, combined reporting from county high schools indicate 341 students participated in at least one dual-credit course and earned a total of 1,614 college credit hours. Applying the average published resident cost from Indiana University Southeast of $203.69 per credit hour, it equates to more than $334,000 in college value to students in a single semester.

"We have all heard that college is a difficult transition for many students, especially those that are living on their own for the first time and trying to figure how to make ramen noodles and do their own laundry," Michael Wiseman, dual-credit instructor through Ivy Tech Community College, said. "In addition, the workload that is expected in college classes can be overwhelming to a new student. The dual-credit courses help give the student a taste of what the course load might be like in college and is, hopefully, one thing that will ease their transition."

Funding from the Foundation can only be used to support classes on the Core Transfer Library List, making them acceptable to all public colleges/universities in Indiana.

The Core Transfer Library is a list of 87 courses that will meet general education or free elective requirements of undergraduate degrees and most will qualify as one-on-one equivalents if a student transfers to a new college. Some credits may also be accepted at online or out-of-state college programs. To learn more about the list, visit transferin.net.

For those in the education field, certified dual-credit instructors are needed to expand the program.

Professors on Loan contract with a college to teach dual-credit classes. Qualifications vary at dual-credit-supporting universities. To qualify through the Ivy Tech program, instructors must have a master's degree and no fewer than 12 graduate hours in the subject content area. To learn more, contact Joe Wayne, director of secondary initiatives at Ivy Tech, at 1-812-248-2694 or by e-mail at jwayne3@ivytech.edu.

"The Foundation will continue to explore ways to offer the associate-degree opportunity in all of our high schools," Gilliland said.

Gilliland also discussed another successful program, the Hand Up Scholarship for continuing education for adults, which has been used by 19 residents with 14 having improved their working position.

"I continue to believe this is one of the better things we've done," Gilliland said.

And that's saying something, since the Foundation has awarded more than $62 million to a variety of programs and projects.

Gilliland said a little bit of assistance — sometimes just for gas money — is going a long way.

Many have used the program to gain a Commercial Driver's License or advance in the nursing field.

Hand Up is a joint venture with WorkOne, and Gilliland said other county Foundations have created similar programs in their communities.

"I'm kind of proud we started a trend with other Foundations," he said.

For more information about the HCCF policies and programs, visit online at hccfindiana.org or contact Anna Curts at 812-738-6668 or by e-mail at annac@hccfindiana.org.

Twitter: @rossschulz

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