More than 1,400 Mahoning Valley high school students earned college credit at Youngstown State University in the first year of Ohio’s College Credit Plus – a 30 percent increase over the College in High School program YSU offered previously.
Shanna Blinn, College Credit Plus coordinator at YSU, said college-ready high school students participating were primarily from Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Portage counties. Taking classes on campus, online and in their high schools, they earned nearly 11,000 college credit hours in 2015-16.
Statewide, more than 52,000 high school students participated in the state-funded CCP in its inaugural year, saving themselves and their families an estimated $110 million in college tuition.
YSU has scheduled three College Credit Plus Information Nights this fall for students in grades 7-12 and their parents. One-hour sessions are set for 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 5, Nov. 7 and Dec. 8 in the Chestnut Room at Kilcawley Center. Call the CCP office at 330-941-2447 for more information.
Blinn spends much of her workdays visiting area high schools, explaining the CCP program to students and parents. Along with the advantages, she’s careful to emphasize that CCP coursework is rigorous. “It’s an amazing opportunity for students who want to be challenged, but it’s for serious students only,” she said. “This is college-level work, and the expectation levels are high.”
Under the College in High School program that YSU offered previously, Blinn said, students could only take college-level classes taught by department-approved or credentialed faculty in their high schools. By adding online and on-campus courses, CCP has dramatically increased the number of course options available.
The program helps students by reducing their college costs – tuition and textbooks are paid by their home school districts or the state. It is expected to benefit the university long-term, said Blinn, because many CCP participants will likely continue their college careers at YSU.
The CCP staff at YSU has created a new Student Ambassador program this year, recruiting current YSU students who participated in the program for paid and volunteer positions. Anthony J. Dickson, a freshman honor student from McDonald, is among the first ambassadors.
Dickson said CCP was a benefit to him when, as a McDonald High School senior, he had to undergo major back surgery and missed a full semester of classes. Through CCP he was able to complete his high school course requirements in one semester while also earning 13 college credit hours toward his degree, and he graduated on
time. “I’m almost a semester ahead,” he said. “And all my CCP classes were on campus, so it made the transition to college easier for me.”