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Fifteenth year of RLC’s dual credit program saves students $1.2 million

After 15 years of helping students save both money and time, Rend Lake College’s dual credit program saved a total of 3,014 students (duplicated) approximately $1,247,461 in tuition and textbook fees by enrolling in the program during the last academic year.

RLC’s dual credit program offers tuition-free courses with a reduced rate for textbook rental for in-district high school students. For the 3,014 students (duplicated) who enrolled in 9,160 credit hours in the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters, the savings in tuition alone is $870,200 at $95 per credit hour. Students who enroll in both semesters are counted twice for official reports.

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.

Lisa Price, Vice President of Student Services, said the dual credit program offers students an insight into college life, while also offering opportunities they may not have otherwise.

“Students and their parents can greatly reduce their college costs by taking advantage of the dual credit program at Rend Lake College,” said Price. “Students also get a taste of the rigor of college-level and career technical courses, which will give them a jumpstart on the rest of their collegiate career.”

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. This was especially true for Benton Consolidated High School (BCHS) graduate Marcela Mendez who walked across the RLC stage in the morning and the BCHS stage in the afternoon last May to become a dual graduate. Mendez joined the ranks of those dedicated students who used RLC’s dual credit and dual enrollment programs to help knock two years off their collegiate careers.

In May, Mendez said, “One big benefit [of taking dual credit and dual enrollment classes] was they were so much cheaper than I would’ve gotten otherwise. The tuition was waived, so I only had book fees. I’m very thankful for all the help I received because school is so expensive. Benton is a small school, but if you talk to the right people and take advantage of what there is to offer, you can do it. Take advantage of these opportunities when you’re young and have the chance to learn more in life.”

In total, 647 (duplicated) BCHS students enrolled in RLC’s dual credit program this year, earning 1,986 credit hours and saving approximately $188,670. Though BCHS didn’t have the most participants, students did complete more credit hours, giving them the largest savings in RLC’s district.

Mt. Vernon Township High School had the most participants in the dual credit program this year at 659 (duplicated), earning a total of 1,951 credit hours in two semesters, saving approximately $185,345 in tuition. See the chart below for tuition savings by high school.

High School

Students Enrolled
(duplicated)

Total Credit Hours

Savings to Students
($95 / credit hour)

Benton CHS

647

1,986

$188,670

Christopher HS

111

411

$39,045

Hamilton County HS

270

777

$73,815

Mt. Vernon THS

659

1,951

$185,345

Pinckneyville CHS

350

1,112

$105,640

Sesser-Valier CHS

60

152

$14,440

Thompsonville HS

76

248

$23,560

Waltonville HS

243

748

$71,060

Wayne City CHS

229

654

$62,130

Webber THS

114

368

$34,960

Woodlawn HS

139

370

$35,150

Zeigler-Royalton CHS

116

383

$36,385

TOTAL

3,014

9,160

$870,200

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. Not all textbooks can be rented, depending on usage.

FY 2016 Totals

Total Textbooks Rented

3,612

Total Value of Textbooks

$415,127.10

Total Charges to Dual Credit Students
(for textbooks)

($37,865.92)

Total Savings in Textbook Fees

$377,261.18

Total Tuition Savings

$870,200.00

Total Tuition and Textbook Savings

$1,247,461.18

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.