Dual Enrollment: Free Tuition for High Schoolers

Academy-300dpiWhen you outline all the benefits of Asbury University’s unique dual enrollment program for high school juniors and seniors, you wonder how any family can resist.

Asbury Academy, celebrating its 10th year this fall, allows high school upperclassmen to take 100 and 200 level courses on campus for free or with a dramatic discount.

Seniors can take four credit hours in the fall and spring semester for free, and they can take up to 15 credit hours in both semesters at half the tuition rate. Summer session is not offered.

Free tuition is reserved for seniors only, but juniors too can take advantage of half tuition for both semesters for more than 80 classes, sitting side by side with college students in classes taught by Asbury faculty.

These are the same classes that helped U.S. News and World Report rank Asbury No. 1 in the South in its 2014-15 regional college rankings.

The Academy also offers online courses, which last eight weeks.

Students from around the country and the world may enroll in one course at a time and can take two classes in one 16-week Asbury semester.

Online courses are offered at an 80% discount.

And it’s not too late to apply – The deadline is August 10, the same day as orientation for on-campus students (2-4 p.m.). Classes start August 17.

Last fall, 111 students enrolled in the program and the university hopes to increase that number.

Kim Okesson is the Assistant Director of Admissions and the Coordinator for Asbury Academy and Special Programs. She has no trouble ticking off the program’s multiple benefits to high school upperclassmen and their families.

For example, unlike most dual enrollment programs that allow students to take college courses at their high school, the Academy offers students an on-campus experience.

Students can participate in study groups, visit professors during office hours and even join the school’s club tumbling team.

The Academy is also the only program around that offers free tuition, Okesson said.

Plus, students can earn a scholarship toward a four-year degree at Asbury ($1,500 for each year for a total of $6,000) if they take 12 hours of dual credit and earn a 3.0 GPA in those classes.

“By earning college credit for free or at a huge discount, students can graduate faster and with less debt,” Okesson said. “Many families need that kind of help.

“This experience also gives students the skills they need to be confident, knowing they will do well in college.

“And the program helps high school students stay academically challenged. If you coast through your senior year, you can fall behind.”

The Kentucky Department of Education recognizes the value of dual enrollment and is making a big push to get all high schools to participate.

As word spreads among high school students, Okesson is confident that Asbury Academy will be a top destination.

“For students to come to a school with such strong academics and take classes for free,” she said, “I don’t know how a family can say no.”