By Bella Angel
According to administrators, teachers, and students alike, University of Findlay’s College Credit Plus program offers numerous advantages to students in grades 7- 12 who are looking to get ahead in their higher-education journeys. But a new addition tot he program began in January. According to Rebecca Hillman, Assistant Director of College Credit Plus at the University of Findlay, the University added an Associate’s of Arts in General Studies
“The AA in General Studies is currently available for all students,” Hillman said. “Any traditional student or CCP student is able to pursue the AA degree.”
“We’re using (the program) with a couple of our high schools (Perkins High School in Sandusky and Ontario High School) that offer a lot of classes to kind of see if we can provide more access to earning a degree,” said Hillman. “These students could possibly get an Associate’s degree before they’ve graduated high school.”
They’ll have multiple courses at their high school that would count towards the degree requirements, according to Hillman.
Hillman says that a major benefit for students is that they get to earn college credit and high school credit at the same time.
“Regardless of if you go to Findlay or somewhere else, that’s going to help save some time and money possibly down the road,” Hillman said.
“Students who earn the degree along with their high school diploma will be able to walk at commencement and will be granted the degree once they have completed high school,” Hillman said. “In terms of classes, we offered this school year, 41 different courses in the high school, with a total of 193 sections across 42 partner schools.”
With the program offered to public school students at no cost, it is a way to get ahead of rising tuition costs by potentially reducing the number of credit hours that students need to earn later.
Jamie Erford is a teacher at Bluffton High School. Through UF, she also instructs English 104 and English 205 at the high school.
“I think that it gives them an opportunity to push themselves,” Erford explains. “It helps them see that they can complete college-level work.”
Students are given the opportunity to explore their college readiness, but Hillman also notes that it helps them explore possible careers.
Celia Smith is a sophomore at Xavier University who took both UF- offered CCP English classes at Bluffton High School . Her main advice?
“Get familiar with your (CCP) professor and use them to your advantage,” Smith said. “I met a lot with Ms. Erford.”
A unique benefit of UF’s CCP classes is the level of feedback that students are given.
With smaller class sizes and instructors who are supported by a huge network of qualified faculty through professional development, consistent communication, and evaluation, the CCP program offers tremendous opportunities for college-level feedback and growth.
The program has been reaching students in a variety of ways. Hillman says students take CCP classes through UF in all shapes and forms. They can take classes online, at the UF campus with traditional college students, or at their own school.
“Most of our students are taking classes in their high schools,” according to Hillman. This option is convenient and eliminates the cost of transportation associated with going to the University. It also opens the gates to more students across the state.
“We have about 45 partner schools right now,” said Hillman. “We go all the way up to Put-In-Bay and all the way down to Minford.”
According to Hillman, not as many CCP students return to UF post-graduation as the University would like. However, all UF CCP students are sent promotional materials to encourage them to choose UF for their undergraduate education.
Current 7-12th grade students can apply for free to UF’s CCP program using this application portal.