Students Can Get Credits Toward Degrees Completed Through Dual Credit

Article by: Michael Bratten

Registration is underway for fall dual credit courses offered by Del Mar College, and there are advantages for high school students in San Patricio and Aransas Counties who sign up early.

“The earlier they register, the more time they have to set their school schedule, pay for classes and purchase textbooks before the fall semester starts,” said Patricia B. Dominguez, Director of Early College Programs at Del Mar College.

Fall registration is open through Aug. 23, but students must consult with their high school counselors to begin the process, Dominguez noted.

Dual credit enables high school students to earn college credits while they work toward their high school diploma. The courses are offered through the Dual Credit North Bay Initiative, a partnership between Del Mar College and the Gregory-Portland, Ingleside, Odem-Edroy, Port Aransas, Rockport-Fulton, Sinton and Taft Independent School Districts.

Students may need to take the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) exam prior to enrolling for dual credit courses – another good reason to register early, Dominguez added. Juniors, seniors and freshmen or sophomores who have completed at least 10 high school credits may be eligible for the classes.

Dominguez, who visits North Bay high schools on a regular basis, has talked with parents who appreciate the cost of dual credit courses, which was recently reduced to $99.99 per three credit-hour course.

“Parents have told me, ‘You saved me $10,000 to $15,000 because my child took their first year of classes through Del Mar College,’” she said. 

Another built-in savings: Dual credit courses are exempt from in- or out-of-district costs otherwise associated with college classes. 

“It’s an equal playing field for all dual credit courses,” Dominguez said. “One price fits all. Students should take advantage of it while they’re in high school.”

Through dual credit, students can earn at least 12 college credit hours by the time they earn their high school diploma. Some graduate high school with 24 to 30 credit hours, nearly the equivalent of college freshman and sophomore years.

College coursework is rigorous, Dominguez said, and students who are exposed to it in high school are better prepared to earn a degree and enter the workforce. She makes her point with a June 26, 2013 report by the American Institutes for Research (www.air.org), who conducted an intense, multi-year study of 10 schools that were part of the Early College High School Initiative created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Early College students had a greater opportunity than their peers to enroll in and graduate from college,” the report states. “They also appeared to be on a different academic trajectory, with Early College students earning college degrees and enrolling in four-year institutions at higher rates than comparison students. In addition, Early Colleges appeared to mitigate the traditional educational attainment gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students.”

“Education is the equalizer,” Dominguez added. “For those students who are ready for the challenge, it’s a win-win.”

To learn more about dual credit through Del Mar College's Early College program, call 361-698-2424, email pbdominguez@delmar.edu or visit www.delmar.edu/dualcredit/.

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