LOADING

Type to search

Latest Reports

Rural teens flocking to cash-strapped education program; GBPI reviews dual enrollment

David Pendered
Georgia Tech

By David Pendered

Students from rural Georgia are among the fastest-growing cohort of high school students enrolling in a budget-challenged program that pays for high school students to attend college class, according to a new report from the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. Meantime, the governor’s floor leaders are heading an effort for the Legislature to contain the program’s escalating costs.

Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech is among the state’s post-secondary institutions that participate in a popular program that allows high school students to earn credits that can be applied to a college degree or technical certificate. Credit: David Pendered

Georgia’s dual enrollment program grew from efforts led by then Gov. Nathan Deal to attract and retain jobs in Georgia. The policy expanded some existing programs on the basis of predictions that Georgia’s workforce won’t be qualified for a majority of jobs in the state in 2025, when more than 60 percent of jobs are expected to require a diploma or certificate from a post-secondary institution.

The dual enrollment program has proven wildly popular. Students, and their parents, have flocked to a program that enabled teenagers to earn state-funded credits from colleges or technical institutes.

The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute released a report Nov. 18 that examines the program from a statewide perspective. The report includes a list of strengths, weaknesses and recommendations to handle costs that have exceeded projections.

That said, the report does provide information on rural students – those at risk of being left behind as everything from health care to digital access expands in urban areas.

Here are three bullet points from the report regarding rural students:

  • “School systems in the least populated areas of the state enroll the highest percentage of students in Dual Enrollment courses. The seven most rural counties in Georgia average 25 percent of their high school students taking at least one Dual Enrollment course in 2019, compared with 5 percent of high school students in metro Atlanta systems.”
  • “School systems in the least populated areas of the state enroll the highest percentage of students in Dual Enrollment courses. The seven most rural counties in Georgia average 25 percent of their high school students taking at least one Dual Enrollment course in 2019, compared with 5 percent of high school students in metro Atlanta systems.”
  • “Transportation to a college campus can be a barrier. Students might rely on their parents, drive on their own, pay for rideshare services or use public transportation to attend class…. In Georgia, students in rural areas are more likely to take courses online or on their high school campus, though most students still participate on a college campus.”

Gov. Brian Kemp’s floor leaders in the House introduced House Bill 144, which would cut the program’s costs by measures that include closing the door to ninth graders, who now can participate.

The administration’s bill also would increase authority for the program in the Georgia Student Finance Commission, which administers funds for student aid including proceeds of the Georgia Lottery.

HB 444 was approved by the House and is poised to be approved by the Senate, which tabled it in the waning hours of the past session. For the bill to become law, the two chambers would have to resolve a minor change approved by a Senate committee, vote to pass the bill, and send it to the governor for his consideration.

GBPI’s report provides alternatives to the governor’s proposed cutbacks that call on the state to maintain existing eligibility, increase oversight and other measures:

  • “Provide consistent, predictable and adequate funding for Dual Enrollment;
  • “Continue to include Dual Enrollment students in public K-12 and postsecondary
  • enrollment counts for funding and study the costs of providing Dual Enrollment;
  • “Prioritize funding to institutions that spend larger shares of tuition dollars on instruction;
  • “Maintain flexibility in eligibility requirements;
  • “Collect, analyze and publish data to evaluate effectiveness and inform program
  • rules;
  • “Standardize policies by academic year or total credit hours;
  • “Provide more clarity and guidance around course transferability and applicability;
  • “Consider effects of policy change on rural school districts, high school models that rely on Dual Enrollment funds and differing impacts by student grade level.”
Tags:
David Pendered
David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.

    1

You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.