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Dual credit program saves RLC students over $1.5 million

Local high school students enrolled in Rend Lake College’s dual credit program had a record-setting year. With more students enrolled in the program than ever before earning more credit hours, students saved over $1.5 million and edged their way closer to a college degree.

RLC’s dual credit program, now finishing its 16th year, saved a total of 3,377 students (duplicated) approximately $1,580,126 in tuition and textbook fees by enrolling in the program during the last academic year.

The dual credit program offers tuition-free courses with a reduced rate for textbook rental for in-district high school students. For the 3,377 students (duplicated) who enrolled in 10,096 credit hours in the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters, the savings in tuition alone is $1,110,560 at $110 per credit hour. Students who enroll in both semesters are counted twice for official reports.

 FY 2017 Totals

Total Tuition Savings

$1,110,560

Total Textbook Rental Savings

$469,566

Total Tuition & Textbook Savings

$1,580,126

Through this program, juniors and seniors take general education and career technical courses during the day at their high school, meeting graduation requirements at both the high school and RLC. The courses are taught by both college and high school instructors.

This year, Mt. Vernon Township High School had the most participants in the dual credit program at 798 (duplicated), earning a total of 2,128 credit hours in two semesters, saving approximately $234,080 in tuition. See the chart below for tuition savings by high school.

FY 2017 Totals  

High School

Students Enrolled
(duplicated)

Total Credit Hours
Earned

Savings to Students
($110 / credit hour)

Benton CHS

 448

 1,433

 $157,630

Christopher HS

 106

 368

 $40,480

Hamilton County SHS

 558

 1,651

 $181,610

Mt. Vernon THS

 798

 2,128

 $234,080

Pinckneyville CHS

 369

 1,201

 $132,110

Sesser-Valier CHS

 58

 138

 $15,180

Thompsonville HS

134

400

$44,000

Waltonville HS

242

756

$83,160

Wayne City HS

243

715

$78,650

Webber THS

125

423

$46,530

Woodlawn HS

130

352

$38,720

Zeigler-Royalton CHS

166

531

$58,410

TOTAL

3,377

10,096

$1,110,560

Oftentimes, the dual credit program gives students a leg-up on their classmates by allowing them to knock off a semester or two from their collegiate careers. In fact, this year at RLC, four local seniors graduated from their high schools and RLC at the same time, putting them two years ahead of the pack.

Camryn Maloney of Christopher, Allee Wellen of Hamilton County, and Austin Kessler and Kenzie Rizor of Thompsonville all attributed their success to hard work and dedication put into RLC’s dual credit and dual enrollment programs. Many followed in the footsteps of previous RLC grads who have done the same thing.

“A couple years ago a girl from my high school, Christopher High School, graduated with her high school diploma as well as her Associate’s in Science and Art,” said Maloney. “I talked with her about it, and just knew it was something I was really interested in since I knew I wanted to go to medical school and knew that would be a long ten years if I didn’t have any transfer credits. It seemed like a good fit.”

Wellen added, “I heard about the dual credit program from my guidance counselor Mrs. Lueke. She told me that it would help me get a head start. What made me want to graduate [from RLC] at the same time as high school was hearing about a girl from Benton who did it when I was in the sixth grade. That always stuck with me.”

Another graduate, Rizor, said there was the added benefit of getting to know a college campus long before becoming a full-time student.

“My favorite part about dual credit classes is the accessibility. It really helped that I could take these classes at my high school and also get college credit for it. It was also helpful to have the familiarity of my classrooms, teachers and fellow students,” she said.

Kessler backed up Rizor, adding, “Dual credit is a great way to be a step ahead of the game and really get a good feel of what a college student is really like. I would definitely recommend dual credit to other students because I believe that it prepares you for your future courses.”

In addition to tuition savings, students enrolled in the dual credit program also qualify for reduced textbook rental rates. For the average RLC student, renting a textbook costs $40, but for dual credit students, that cost is lowered to $10. This year, students saved $469,566 by renting textbooks instead of purchasing. Not all textbooks can be rented, depending on usage. See the chart below for textbook savings.

FY 2017 Totals

Total Textbooks Rented

3,680

Total Value of Textbooks (if purchased)

$508,966

Total Charges to Dual Credit Students

($39,410)

Total Savings in Textbook Fees

$469,566

Lisa Price, Vice President of Student Services, encouraged future students to take advantage of the program in the years to come.

“RLC is continuing to prove that we are dedicated to our community – this time to the tune of over $1.5 million in savings to the families of our high school students participating in the dual credit program,” said Price. “I challenge next year’s juniors and seniors to take advantage of more courses and more savings.”

All 13 public high schools in RLC’s district are registered with the program, and 12 participated last year. Students must meet placement requirements and prerequisites prior to enrolling in the courses. Approval for students to participate in dual enrollment must be obtained by a high school official. Students also must adhere to the RLC drop policy. The grade will become a part of the college transcript.

Tuition is waived for eight hours per semester. For those wanting to take additional classes, approval from the Vice President of Student Services is required. For more information on dual credit, contact the Student Services Department at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1266.