NKY superintendents/NKU partner to promote college completion

For immediate release…
Friday – Nov. 8, 2013

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Dozens of area high school students celebrated an enhanced dual-credit plan today aimed at expanding access to local colleges, increasing degree attainment in the region and reducing the need for college-level remediation.

They watched as Northern Kentucky University President Geoffrey Mearns and Northern Kentucky Superintendents Association Vice President Mike Borchers signed a proclamation supporting the new plan in NKU’s Student Union.

“It’s the right thing to do,” President Mearns said. “Reaching higher degree attainment levels and lower remediation requires NKU and the superintendents to work together seamlessly. Our partnership will accelerate quality education opportunities when students are ready. We are excited about the outcomes this effort will achieve.”

With 647 high school students currently enrolled in college classes at NKU, 47 more than last year, the plan is to expand the university’s School-Based Scholars program to enroll 1,000 students by fall 2016. The program offers local high school students the opportunity to enroll in NKU classes within their high school or at NKU before earning their diploma.

“While 1,000 is a stretch goal, we believe we can achieve it,” Mearns said. “If we are going to reach the goals of Senate Bill 1, we need to be innovative and more productive.”

Increasing dual-credit enrollment is one strategy to promote career and college readiness and degree completion called for in Kentucky’s 2009 Session Senate Bill 1. The commonwealth set a goal to reduce college remediation rates of recent high school graduates by at least 50 percent by 2014. Visit http://education.ky.gov/educational/CCR/Pages/CCR.aspx for more information.

Kentucky’s emphasis on dual-learning opportunities is consistent with nationwide growth in dual enrollment. According to a recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics, in fall 2010 about 1.4 million high school students took college courses concurrent with their high school enrollment. This was up from 1.2 million in fall 2002.

“We have students in our high schools ready for college,” said Randy Poe, president of the Northern Kentucky Superintendents Association and superintendent of the Boone County School District. “The School-Based Scholars program keeps high-performing students challenged during their final two years of high school.”

During an NKU presidential transition meeting last year, Mearns asked local superintendents what NKU could do to help them achieve their goals. Their response was to expand dual credit opportunities for high school students. The superintendents requested more classes, training and certification for their teachers to teach college classes and a lower cost for the students. Mearns responded by asking the superintendents to create a joint committee to review the university’s current program and make recommendations within 60 days. The university has implemented all of the team’s recommendations.

“The team that came together worked quickly to make adjustments before the school year began,” Poe said. “I can’t say enough about our school representatives and the work that NKU faculty and staff did to reach a workable plan. We truly live in a collaborative community that gets things done for our students.”

In addition to the School-Based Scholars Program, NKU is working to strengthen its partnership with Gateway Technical & Community College; impacting third- and fourth-grade math scores through the NKU-based Kentucky Center for Mathematics; increasing interest in STEM education and careers through its Center for Integrative Natural Science and Mathematics; and advising early childhood professionals on what is necessary for a strong start among children. The university’s College of Informatics talent development strategy is also the foundation for northern Kentucky’s fledging Informatics Cluster, and NKU is the driver behind a new regional education strategy for population health.

“We are focused on student success, and that has caused us to play a part across the spectrum of education to prepare students for life and work,” Mearns said. “Northern Kentucky has a bright future because of the many people working together on talent development. “

NKU School-Based Scholar Changes:

  • Lowered entering GPA requirement from 3.25 to 3.0.
  • Reduced price from $337 per course to $225 per course, effective fall 2013. This resulted in an immediate savings of $83,778 for participating families.
  • Increased to eight the number of courses that can be completed through NKU at the discounted rate.
  • Waived the application fee for SBS students who apply to NKU upon HS graduation (savings of $40).
  • Working with school districts on a plan to help their teachers add the credentials necessary to teach college content in their schools.
  • Developed an innovative hybrid approach that will team NKU faculty with high school teachers to provide intensive online content specifically for high school students. The first course (ENG 101) will be piloted in spring 2014.

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