Deadline looms for teens to earn college credit

Posted at 7:00 AM, Mar 19, 2016

CINCINNATI -- Time is running out for Ohio students who are interested in applying for a statewide program that allows them to earn college credit while still in high school.

The College Credit Plus notification process for students in grades seven through 12 ends April 1 for the 2016-2017 school year. The program is free to families when students take courses offered by Ohio public colleges and universities; students can take college classes offered at their high school, on the college or university campus, or online.

Prior to CCP’s debut last fall, many public colleges and universities had post-secondary enrollment options or dual-enrollment precursor programs in place that allowed students to earn college credit while still in high school, either by taking college courses on the college or university campus or at the high school itself, said Beth Fisher Young, director of College Credit Plus for the University of Cincinnati’s main campus. Those programs were rolled into CCP.

Fisher Young said she expects more students to participate in UC’s CCP program next year because many students and parents weren’t aware of the program heading into this school year.

“There was some confusion about the program rollout for the first year, because the rules came out from the state a little later than everyone anticipated and we had to work quickly to get the program online and in accordance with the state’s standards,” she said.

This year, UC enrolled 2,027 students in CCP. The university also began enabling high school students to apply to take courses on its main campus. In the past, high school students who wanted to take courses on campus were referred to UC’s regional campuses in Blue Ash and Clermont.

UC also partners with area high schools to credential teachers to lead college-level courses that are identical to content taught on campus. The university partners with 20 high schools in the area; next year, it expects that number to rise to 23.

“We want the program to grow, and I expect it to grow, but by how much is hard to predict,” Fisher Young said. “I think we’ll have a really good idea of what our numbers will look like for next year in June.”

Miami University’s CCP program has its major presence at the Middletown and Hamilton regional campuses. This year, 930 high school students enrolled in Miami’s CCP program, with only 47 of those on the Oxford campus.

High school students who enroll in Miami’s program primarily attend college courses on Miami’s campuses, said Marianne Cotugno, Miami’s faculty director; only a few Miami courses are taught on high school campuses.

Cotugno said Miami saw double the number of applications for the program this year over last because the application for CCP is free and, in the past, students had to pay to apply. But, she said, Miami might see a fewer number of students on campus next year because other public schools in the area are more aggressive about offering courses in high schools.

“I’m hoping we keep our numbers, because they’re a vital part of our campus life,” she said. “Thirty percent of students who participate in CCP fully matriculate at Miami University. We think this is a great way to introduce them to what we have to offer at Miami.”

Timothy Mott, director of off-campus programs at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, said his college’s primary focus has been on creating partnerships with local school districts throughout southwest Ohio and identifying high schools with qualified faculty members who can be approved as college instructors.

Cincinnati State enrolled 2,550 students in its CCP program this year, with the vast majority of those students taking college courses at their high schools. However, Mott said, Cincinnati State experienced six times more students participating in courses on its main campus, regional campuses and online than any prior year.

“As we move toward the rollout for year two of CCP, Cincinnati State expects to find modest growth due to stronger communication channels to students and parents about the CCP opportunity,” Mott said, as well as an increasing number of partner high schools coming online and an increasing number of high school faculty members becoming approved as college instructors.

This year, more than 32,000 high school students enrolled in CCP across the state of Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

For next year, public high school students must notify their principal of their interest to participate by April 1; non-public and homeschool students must send their letter of intent to participate to the Ohio Department of Education by April 1. All students are required to declare intent, even if they participated this year.

Also, new this year, College Credit Plus expanded to include a summer term.

For more information about Ohio’s College Credit Plus program, visit