Dual enrollment scholarships for high school students increased

Dual enrollment scholarships for high school students increased

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

More scholarship money is available in the upcoming academic year for high school students who also want to earn college credits in math, science and engineering.

The STEM scholarships are in addition to existing career technical education scholarships that have been available for several years.

Lawmakers and Gov. Kay Ivey increased funding for dual enrollment in the 2022 education budget by $3 million to $21.1 million. 

“Dual enrollment courses are a tremendous benefit to students as they not only provide a means to college credit but also allow high schoolers the opportunity to take in the college experience,” Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy Baker said in a written statement. “Dual enrollment classes at community colleges are particularly beneficial as they’re offered with the same one-on-one attention and smaller class sizes that students can expect at our colleges across the state.”

In the 2019-20 academic year, there were 17,691 academic and career technical education dual enrollment students. That’s up from 11,324 in 2015-16.  Community colleges awarded 8,481 career technical education dual enrollment scholarships. 

The scholarship amount is dependent on the number of courses a student takes, but averages $2,000 annually per student, according to ACCS.

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, chairs the House Education Policy Committee and is on the education budget committee. She noted that in recent years, less than 50% of high school graduates have enrolled in Alabama colleges the next fall.

“I have to think they think they won’t be successful,” Collins said. The dual enrollment scholarships introduce them to the college experience.

“A whole group of high school students can see that yes, they can be successful in higher education,” Collins said. “Having more dollars encourages more students to participate.” 

She also said that local colleges know the careers that are in demand in their areas.

“I think we’re letting students know what’s available, what education path is needed and how to achieve it.”

Class delivery in-person, online, or through a college instructor traveling to the local high school or career center.

The scholarships will cover classes in science, technology, engineering and math that can transfer to a four-year university and be used to complete a two-year associate degree.

Students must have a 2.5 GPA in STEM-related academic work to qualify for the scholarship. More information is available at students’ local community colleges.