CMU pilots dual enrollment program with Shiawassee Regional Educational Service District

College classes offered at no cost to students
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Central Michigan University is piloting a program with the Shiawassee Regional Education Service District to allow high school students the chance to dual enroll in college classes, earning both high school and college credits at no cost to the student or family. Forty-nine students are enrolled in the first class offered this fall.  

“We have one of the highest high school graduation rates in the state here in Shiawassee County, but we have among the lowest number of bachelor’s degrees,” said John VanWagoner, associate superintendent at the SRESD. “We believe the lack of access to a public four-year institution may be one of the reasons. This partnership with CMU creates access in our community.”

“There isn’t a four-year public university or community college in Shiawassee County,” said Al Zainea, director of undergraduate programs and liaison of academic programs for CMU’s Global Campus. “This gives CMU a presence and allows students to get involved early in understanding the academic requirements of college, and we can identify students who have the potential to do well at CMU.”

“This is a jump start for students,” said VanWagoner. “It provides the opportunity for students to explore a four-year institution that could be a destination for them to pursue a bachelor’s degree and beyond.

Students who participated in dual enrollment in high school were shown to have significantly higher college grade point averages three years after high school graduation than did their peers who did not dual enroll, according to a study by Community College Research Center. Dual enrolled students also earned more college credits, showing progress toward a degree, than non-participating peers.

This unique hybrid program is a blended learning arrangement including online classes and three face-to-face sessions on Saturdays throughout the semester. One of the Saturday sessions introduces students to the skills necessary and support available to help them be successful in college. The tuition, books and other materials are funded by the SRESD at no cost to the student or families. Student enrollment in this countywide program will eventually be funded by each of the participating local school districts within SRESD.

VanWagoner says he approached CMU to implement this program because Global Campus is a leader in online learning and its satellite centers across the state.

“Global Campus has a lot of what we needed to get started already figured out,” VanWagoner said.

Each of the eight school districts in the SRESD has students enrolled. The students are primarily juniors and seniors, however two sophomores also qualified. Psychology 100 is the class offered this fall. In the winter 2014 semester, the program will be expanded to offer two classes.

“By working with CMU, our goal is for every student to have the ability to earn a technical certificate, associate degree or credits to a four-year institution,” said VanWagoner.

CMU’s Global Campus currently enrolls more than 10,000 students in online classes during the year. CMU has been a pioneer and innovator in distance learning since 1971 with more than 50 locations in the United States, Mexico and Canada, including 20-plus military bases. CMU’s online graduate business programs rank No. 6, and the online graduate education programs placed No. 12 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Education Programs 2013 list.

Shiawassee Regional Education Service District is one of 56 intermediate school districts in the state of Michigan. ISDs provide and coordinate essential services to their constituent school districts to facilitate teaching and learning. The local School districts within Shiawassee County include Byron, Corunna, Durand, Laingsburg, Morrice, New Lothrop, Owosso and Perry.