Earning high school credit, college credit simultaneously just got easier

If someone told you that you could enroll your child in a college credit course for $12.75, you would probably think you had entered a time capsule and arrived in 1950. But this too-good-to-be-true cost is actually correct.

Tulsa Community College has joined forces with local school districts and a partner agency to give qualified high school sophomores, juniors and seniors the opportunity to enroll in a TCC class for only $12.75. By collaborating with Tulsa Public Schools, Union Public Schools and the Community Service Council of Tulsa, TCC implemented EXCELerate during the fall 2010 semester.

TCC has offered college courses at high school campuses for years, but the EXCELerate program provides greater accessibility because it opens concurrent enrollment to a broader scope of high school students. Upon the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approval in September, TCC implemented EXCELerate, which has several exceptions to state regents’ policies. The goal of this program is for more students to experience early college success and thereby improve their chances of succeeding in college.
For example, state regents’ policy states that juniors must have at least a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) and seniors must have a 3.0 GPA in order to be concurrently enrolled in college. However, EXCELerate enables students with a 2.5 or higher to concurrently enroll. And, OSRHE approved sophomores may take college courses if they meet requirements. Previously, only high school juniors and seniors could concurrently enroll.

TCC has a similar program, Attend College Early (ACE), which began more than five years ago. But while the ACE program covers tuition up to six credit hours, it does not pay for fees. A typical ACE student paid around $90 in fees for one three-credit hour course. An EXCELerate student would pay only $12.75.
In the EXCELerate program, students won’t pay out of pocket for books, either. TPS and Union will buy books and then check them out to students for the semester.

This two-year pilot project concludes in 2012. At that time, organizers will analyze project data and submit a report to OSRHE for review and possible extension.