ISU Headlines

New Early College Program scholarships available to prep students

Posted November 20, 2007

More than 100 community, industry and education representatives – including Tom Luna, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction – came together at a recent Pocatello Chamber of Commerce luncheon to support a new scholarship program for high school students enrolled in the Idaho State University Early College Program.

Luna, who has requested $3.5 million in the upcoming public schools budget to support concurrent enrollment programs throughout the state, expressed his belief in the value of these programs, not only in southeast Idaho, but across the state. He was the keynote speaker at a Chamber luncheon.

“We must ensure every Idaho student leaves high school prepared to live and work in the 21st century, no matter what path they choose – college, professional-technical school, directly into the work force or to join the military,” said Luna. “Offering concurrent credit opportunities to our students is a great way we can help prepare these students for the world that awaits them.”

At the local level, the Chamber’s Education Committee announced it will provide scholarships, through the receipt of generous donations by the Idaho National Laboratory and local businesses, for some of the students in the District 25 (Pocatello/Chubbuck) school district who are enrolled in the Early College Program and are taking classes at their high schools.

District 25 Superintendent Mary Vagner said the collaboration of the Chamber, the business community, the school district, and the university is “a win for everyone.” Early College teachers are given the opportunity to teach more challenging courses and collaborate with their university colleagues. But most significantly it is a win for the students who are helped through this program to earn college credits while still in high school, she said.

The Chamber’s scholarship program makes this program more accessible than ever, according to Steve Neiheisel, Ph.D., ISU associate provost for enrollment management. With nearly $12,000 to date, the scholarship fund is enough to support 60 students each for a typical three-credit course per academic school year.  The Chamber’s scholarship program is a great model of collaboration for other communities to follow in support of an educational program that increases the opportunities for high school students to attend and succeed at college, he said.  

Moving beyond the local community and recognizing the value of concurrent enrollment programs, ISU has in the past year signed Memorandums of Understanding to increase the offerings and opportunities for the program with school districts included in Regions V and VI. 

Schools in Region V participating in the program include District 25 in Pocatello, along with schools from Soda Springs, Grace, North Gem, Malad, Marsh Valley, Aberdeen, American Falls, Sho-Ban, Snake River, Preston and West Side.  Participating schools this academic year in Region VI include Bonneville, Hillcrest, Skyline, Rigby, Challis, Teton, West Jefferson, and Madison.

“With local efforts like the Chamber’s Education Scholarship program, regional efforts like the memorandums of understanding between ISU and the school districts,” Neiheisel said, “and with statewide efforts led by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, it’s a win for everyone involved.” 

Students may access the application by visiting the District Foundation section of the District 25 Web site at web1.d25.k12.id.us/home/grant/index.htm and click on the “Concurrent Enrollment Scholarship Application” link listed on the left side of the page.

The major contributor to the District 25 Early College Scholarships was the INL along with generous donations from a variety of businesses, individuals and public agencies.

The ISU Early College Program, sometimes called concurrent or dual enrollment, provides high school students the opportunity to earn college credits at a significantly reduced rate while still in high school. College-level classes are taught in the high school by secondary teachers who have been approved, based upon their education and experience, as adjunct ISU instructors.

This fall 974 high school students are participating in classes for academic college credit in the ISU program in Idaho, while 464 students are registered in ISU Tech Prep Classes.  At $65 credit for the Early College Program or $15 a credit for the Tech Prep program, rather than the on-campus rate of $221, this program gives students the chance to gain experience with the rigor of college courses and confidence in their ability to succeed in higher level study. Some students, who are ready for courses not available at their high school, enroll in classes held on the college campus at $169 per credit.