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Meridian Star

October 4, 2012

School officials sign memo for dual credit classes

Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — When Meridian Community College started offering dual credit in 2005, two classes were taught and a handful of students participated.

“Since that time it has grown tremendously,” said Barbara Jones, vice president for operations at MCC. On Wednesday, MCC President Dr. Scott Elliott, along with Meridian Public School District Superintendent Dr. Alvin Taylor and Lauderdale County School District Superintendent Randy Hodges signed a memo of understanding for a dual credit agreement. The MOU will also have to be signed by MCC’s Board of Trustees and the districts’ schools boards.

Dual credit is a program that allows high school students to simultaneously earn college credit toward a post secondary degree or certificate at MCC and credit that will also count toward a high school diploma.

The program has grown to where more than 140 students have enrolled in both career and technical and academic course offerings by MCC. “All schools are represented in our enrollment,” Jones said.

She and other MCC administrators credit the cooperation of the superintendents and the communication efforts by the educational entities for the success of the program.

Educators aren't the only ones taking a closer look at dual credit classes. “We are seeing more interest from legislators as well,” according to Dr. Scott Elliott.

“It’s a bargain for students and it’s catching on for parents,” Jones added.

Students from the Lauderdale County Public School District and the Meridian Public School District pay a $25 registration fee for each dual credit course in which they enroll. No other tuition is charged. Many of the classes are offered on the high school campuses.

Due to the mounting costs of higher education, this program is just one consideration for getting a jumpstart on higher education, Elliott said.

Because of dual credit classes, students are able to move more quickly through their college education, and as the trend grows, educators will see more students take advantage of the opportunity.

“Giving students access and opportunity builds the relationship with our local schools and shows we are united,” Jones said.

“In the dual credit discussion, as with everything else, communication is key,” Jones said. “It is important that principals, counselors and vocational directors be open-minded and willing to share this information with their students.”

Both superintendents were pleased to sign the agreement and pledged to work with MCC. “Thank you all for what you’re doing and for all of us in the Lauderdale County area and so on behalf of the Meridian Public School District, we’re very honored to be a part of this great community and to do our part in making Meridian and Lauderdale County community as strong as it can be,” Taylor said.

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