The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College work to provide the youth of Southeast Ohio quality education while still at a secondary school level. To achieve this goal, Rio is a participating institution with Ohio’s College Credit Plus program. The program offers students from 7th to 12th grades the opportunity to take college courses at little or no cost while also receiving credit toward their high school graduation requirements. Taylor Noel, senior recruitment officer and college credit plus coordinator said the program has multiple benefits for college-ready students.
“This gives students the option to take college courses that would be equivalent to their high school courses. It also allows students to finish high school a little earlier because of the ratio of college credit hours to the high schools’ Carnegie Units. For example, a three credit-hour composition course here will fulfill a whole year of the students’ high school English requirement.” Noel said. “A lot of students I speak to really love the opportunity to take college classes for free. CCP students are also going to be more prepared for college when they enter their freshman year because, by taking these classes, they will be more aware of the college atmosphere and what is expected of them in their courses.”
Students who enroll at colleges through CCP will have both a college and high school transcript for the courses they take. Because of this, they will already have college credit going toward their degrees before graduating high school. Seven CCP students enrolled at Rio received their associate degrees at the 141st commencement ceremony in May before receiving their high school diplomas. Noel said this is a great accomplishment because it helps them complete a four-year degree program at a faster, more affordable pace.
“Another aspect of the program is students who are able to get an associate degree while in CCP only have to pay for two years of college rather than four years. This cuts the cost of a four-year degree by half, making higher education affordable for more people who may not be able to cover those costs otherwise,” Noel said. “Even with these credit hours and associate degree, they will still be eligible to apply for freshman scholarships for their first year of college, which helps make their tuitions even more affordable.”
Students in any form of secondary school, including private and homeschool, are eligible to apply for the program, which accepts students based on college-ready standards in one or more areas of study. Applicants must take an Accuplacer Test or submit ACT scores to Rio. Chair of School of Mathematics and Natural Science Dr. Elizabeth Bonawitz has worked with CCP students in her classes and is impressed by their strong work ethic.
“The majority of CCP students are academically driven. They are very interested in the material and doing their work. It’s so enjoyable to watch them grow and gain confidence as they go through the program because these students are here for the learning experience,” Bonawitz said. “It’s a great step toward completing their degrees, and a major accomplishment for those who do receive an associate degree before graduating high school. It’s important that Rio takes part in this program because CCP helps give the youth in our area a head start in their college careers and provides them with opportunities they may not be able to get without the program.”
During the 2016-2017 school year, 180 students enrolled at Rio through the CCP program. For more information on the CCP program, contact Taylor Noel at the Office of Admissions 740-245-7210.