Home Online Earning More Battle Creek-area students are earning college credits in high school

More Battle Creek-area students are earning college credits in high school

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Makenna Fredenburg has already saved around $10,000 in college tuition costs, and she hasn’t even graduated from high school.

She’ll probably save at least as much before the end of this school year.

The Harper Creek High School senior is one of more than 1,200 area high school students taking advantage of Kellogg Community College’s dual enrollment and early college programs.

The programs allow high school students to enroll in on-campus and online classes — sometimes enough to graduate from KCC with an associate’s degree — at no cost to them while they’re still in high school. 

And the number of students taking advantage of it is growing. KCC reported a dual enrollment and early college enrollment increase of 11.4% fromthe 2015-16 to 2016-17 school years, according to the annual report it released in December.

“I feel like it’s a good way for high school students to learn what they want to do and save money,” Fredenburg said. “Their tuition is free, the classes work with your high school schedule and the credits transfer to universities.” 

Fredenburg, who hopes to become an architectural engineer, is taking accounting, algebra and freshman composition classes online this semester. She’s already completed communication, psychology, introduction to business, principles of advertising and other general education courses on campus.

The dual enrollment program allows students to take up to 10 classes at KCC while in high school.

Students in the early college program can earn up to 60 transferable college credits or a college certificate or degree while they’re still in high school. The program also requires them to delay their graduation for up to a year to complete the program.

Some of the classes are offered online. The high schools pay for the classes with the per-pupil funds they get from the state and offer  the students transportation to KCC. 

Dual enrollment jumped from 727 high school students in 2011-12 to 1,003 students last year. Early college enrollment, now in its third year, increased from 10 students in 2015-16 to 226 students in 2016-17. 

Nearly 35 high schools participated in the two programs in 2016-17. The Calhoun Area Career Center topped the list with 194 students; Harper Creek Community Schools sent 162 students; and 116 students from Marshall Public Schools enrolled.

Battle Creek Central High School had 62 students in the dual enrollment program, while Pennfield and Lakeview schools had 68 and 45, respectively.

“I think it’s a great opportunity that students have in order to get some college or a degree paid for, for free, ” said Angie Bess, KCC’s manager of early college and events. “The opportunity to even get any college courses without having to go into debt or use any other funding this early on, that opportunity is great.

“A lot of students we know have to use either financial aid or take student loans in order to get an education and to get a head start on either program with no money out of pocket is such an awesome advantage,” she added.

Jawharah Carmouche, a Battle Creek Central High School senior who hopes to become a registered nurse, is taking English, psychology, physiology and certified nursing assistant courses this semester.

Carmouche’s plan is to transfer to Michigan State University or Wayne State University after KCC.

Saving money “is definitely the best benefit,” she said, but she also enjoys the smaller class sizes and hopes to enroll in KCC as a sophomore when she’s done with high school.

“Not only does it cut down costs, but it allows you to get one-on-one time with a professor,” Carmouche said. “I definitely enjoy the program a lot. It definitely takes more stress off of me than my (high) school.”

Contact Battle Creek Enquirer education reporter Noe Hernandez at 269-966-0684 or nhernandez@battlecreekenquirer.com.

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