(Le Mars) — The Iowa Department of Education announced the number of high school students earning college credits while still attending high school is on the rise. A record has been established with more than 51,800 students across the state taking dual credits from high school, as well as from a community college. The number indicates an increase of 2.4 percent over last year. The trend is also occurring at the Le Mars Community School District. Dr. Mark Iverson, the high school principal says several students are currently enrolled with Western Iowa Technical Community College. Iverson says 253 students at Le Mars Community are currently enrolled with a community college.
Iverson says the types of classes high school students enroll as part of the community college credit can vary depending on the student’s needs.
With college tuition costs constantly rising, and more students facing expensive student loans, Iverson says the dual credit courses are financed through the high school, making it affordable for any student.
The high school principal says it was former school district superintendent, Dr. Todd Wendt, that established the dual credit program for Le Mars Community, and allowing students to take courses from a community college.
Iverson says one benefit to offering the community college credit courses is that it made enrollment to other colleges and universities a bit more consistent.
The Le Mars Community High School principal says indications are that students are interested in pursuing community college credit courses for the next school year.
Iverson says the students taking the community college courses are across the board that include men and women, as well as minorities, and students from economically challenged families. Iverson says more than 30 percent of the Le Mars Community School District student body are taking a higher level class course.
Governor Kim Reynolds says “Iowa puts a strong emphasis on dual enrollment because it helps students get a head start with college coursework while lowering the overall cost of higher education.” Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo says she is “proud that Iowa makes joint enrollment available to all high schools across the state, and we will continue to look at ways to ensure joint enrollment growth in future years.”