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Concurrent Enrollment – A Must for Our High Schools Students

Serving on the House Education Committee has given me a unique opportunity to take a look at what works in public education and what does not. It’s an assignment I enjoy tremendously. I especially appreciate the forward approach taken by committee members, our Colleges and Universities, Eastern Idaho Technical School, State Superintendent Tom Luna and many others in promoting a concurrent credit program for Idaho — a system that allows high school juniors and seniors to earn college credits for certain advanced courses taken.

The Superintendent has included $3.5 million in his public school budget request to help pay for juniors and seniors to earn college credits while in high school. That’s a sound investment, considering what we would be getting. Here are some facts about concurrent credit courses:

  • 75 percent of Idaho students who take concurrent credit courses in high school go to college. That’s significant, because only 45 percent of high school seniors in Idaho go to college after graduation. Concurrent credit courses give students who may not think they are “college material” a chance to see what college is like.
  • Concurrent credit courses add more rigor to the junior and senior years in high school by providing opportunities to take advanced courses. That would be one way to deal with the “senior slump” that some students experience.
  • Concurrent credit courses help high school students prepare for what awaits them, whether it’s college, professional-technical education, the work force or the military.
    We don’t have to go far to see the success of concurrent credit courses. Utah has had the program since 2003, and the results have been remarkable. 36 percent of juniors and seniors in Utah (about 27,000 students) are taking concurrent credit courses and 400 to 500 students are graduating from high school with an associate degree every year. Nearly half of Utah students who took concurrent credit courses graduated from college within four years. By comparison, only 21 percent of non-concurrent credit students graduated from college in four years.

Concurrent credit courses have been a positive for Utah and I’m convinced they will be a positive for Idaho. I support this program as a member of the House Education Committee and urge parents and students to take advantage of this great educational opportunity.