Carroll County Public Schools students will be able to dual enroll in an unlimited number Carroll Community College classes for free beginning in the spring semester, a move that will make access to these classes far more equitable, according to college President James Ball.
In addition, CCPS students who took dual enrollment courses at CCPS locations or at the community college during the fall 2022 semester and who paid tuition and consolidated fees were scheduled to receive refunds for the tuition portion of their bill last month.
The move, which is being made possible under the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform, presents an incredible opportunity for high school students, Ball said.
“What the Blueprint is really trying to do is have an equity agenda to make sure that all students, regardless of their finances and their ability to have transportation to the college, have the opportunity for dual enrollment,” Carroll Community College Provost Rose Mince said. “It’s wonderful news, it’s a happy thing. The timing of things is what’s been a little bit tricky.”
The previous dual enrollment policy enacted by CCPS and the community college allowed high school students to enroll in up to four college classes over the course of their high school career, with a 25% tuition reduction from the college. Under the new plan, students will be able to take an unlimited number of college classes while in high school at no cost to them or their families. The 25% discount in tuition remains and the public school system will be responsible for paying tuition costs as well as other expenses such as school supplies and textbooks.
CCPS had been responsible for roughly 3% of dual enrollment expenses in recent years, under a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions.
CCPS is paying a total of $700,000 for college classes taken by its students this fall, which had been budgeted for, according to Superintendent Cynthia McCabe.
McCabe said the total could rise into the millions once families know classes are free.
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Dual enrolled students have access to all Carroll Community College clubs, extracurricular activities and resources, including the academic center, which offers free subject-specific tutoring. Associate Provost of Student Affairs and Marketing Kristie Crumley said dual enrolled students are valued and productive members of the college community and are easily mistaken for traditional college students in the diverse student body.
The program also allows the college to offer its classes within public school buildings by certifying teachers as adjunct professors. Crumley said this program is designed to make classes more accessible by addressing transportation issues and scheduling constraints and makes dual enrollment a more comfortable prospect to students by offering classes in a familiar environment.
Including in-person and online classes, 775 CCPS students in the Class of 2022 were dual enrolled. The college’s senior director of enrollment development, Candace Edwards, said word-of-mouth plays a big role in student class selection and the number of dual enrolled students is nearly double what it was four years ago.
Students appreciate the opportunity to earn college credits without having to take a high-stakes test, required by Advanced Placement classes, Edwards said.
Some aspects of dual enrollment operations will be unveiled at a later stage of the Blueprint’s rollout, Ball said, including which students are deemed eligible for dual enrollment by the state. College staff will stay in close contact with the school system while CCPS determines how to interpret and implement the new rules, and how Blueprint will change the system’s fiscal operations.
“I think that the biggest challenge is quick turnaround time,” Mince said, “because it continues to unfold and we’d like to be as prepared as possible, but we realize that we’re going to have to be very flexible and adapt.”