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U-46 may expand dual-credit options with ECC Options: Among challenges for fall is getting students to take ECC's placement exam Options: Among the challenges for this fall is getting students to take ECC's placement exam.

Byline: Madhu Krishnamurthy

More Elgin Area School District U-46 students might have the chance to earn college credit at Elgin Community College in the future.

U-46 officials last week provided an update on dual-credit courses offered for the first time this school year to seniors through ECC's Accelerate College program. Forty-five students were accepted into the program. Of those, 42 made it to second semester. About two-thirds of the students are female, 38 percent qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program, and 62 percent paid full fees. Participants' demographic makeup is 38 percent Hispanic, 38 percent white, 19 percent Asian and 5 percent black, said Chris Boden, U-46 lead counselor.

Boden said students performed well in the first semester, earning 633 credits with a 3.42 cumulative grade-point average score, saving $79,000 in college tuition.

Classes are held at ECC's Elgin campus. Students are taking 12 to 16 credit hours per semester at $125 per credit hour, which increases to $129 next school year. They attend classes between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and meet with Boden on Fridays for guidance.

To qualify, a student must be a high school junior, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, meet college readiness requirements -- based on ECC placement tests or scores on the ACT or SAT in reading, writing and mathematics -- and have a good attendance record in high school. Students complete high school graduation requirements embedded into ECC's program, taking English, math, science, social science, behavioral science, fine arts and humanities courses during senior year of high school. All students also must take a College 101 class.

They can work toward an associate degree or certificate in arts or science, earning between 30 and 32 credits for the year. Students pay for books and U-46's instructional fees, while the district covers ECC's tuition and course fees through general state aid.

"We have 45 spaces available for students for the fall," said Terri Lozier, U-46 assistant superintendent of secondary schools and equity. "We are also allowed to have 45 additional spaces (for

students entering junior year). Before we suggest or move forward with the junior-senior program at ECC, we want to make sure that we have the senior program pretty well under control."

Among the challenges with identifying eligible students for this fall is getting them to take ECC's placement exam.

"It would be much easier if we could do it during the school day at our own facilities, but there is a question of how secure the test is and are they all being given within the same parameters," Lozier said.

Another concern is seniors attending ECC are ineligible to compete in Illinois High School Association-sanctioned sports and college athletics.

"We are continuing to explore other dual-credit options so that students can remain at our home high schools," Lozier said. "We are working with ECC to align our programs so that a student will take their senior year and college credits right in our own buildings, go to ECC for one year and then move on to either Northern Illinois University or Illinois State University for the remaining two years."

Officials also are exploring dual-credit options with Harper College in Palatine and other community colleges.
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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Mar 26, 2018
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