BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. -

In his recent State-of-the-State address, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam made note of high school dual enrollment as an important way to help students succeed in college and prepare for the workforce.

Dual enrollment allows high school students to earn college credit while still in high school. In fact, many students in the program complete large portions of their freshman course load while in high school. There is a 94 percent probability that those students will go on to college - much higher than the estimated 60 percent probability for students in regular courses.

Haslam is proposing that Tennessee offer one dual enrollment course to high school students at no cost with discounted courses available after that.

"This is truly a historic time for community colleges in Tennessee," said Northeast State Community College President Dr. Janice Gilliam. "Never has it been easier for students to get a higher education degree or certificate that leads directly to a job in that field or transfer to a four-year university."

To further boost student participation in the program, Northeast State is compiling a list of possible dual enrollment courses for local high school principals and career and technical educators to consider.

The classes could be offered via interactive television, the Internet, or by conventional classroom methods.

Possible new course offerings include Engineering Graphics, Computer-Aided Design, Industrial Concepts, Safety in the Workplace, Principles of Accounting, Records Management, Principals of Business, Business Law, Marketing, Introduction to Computer Networking, Information Security Fundamentals, and Microcomputer Operating Systems.

Northeast State uses a Develop a Curriculum (DACUM) system that analyzes curriculum to define the duties, tasks, skills, and knowledge a new employee in technical fields needs to know to perform his/her job duties.

There are two main pathways for students at community colleges:

1.) The first two years of a four-year degree through the university parallel/college transfer associate degree programs and applied science degree programs;
or 2.) Certificates and two-year terminal degrees in which students complete programs in a variety of majors and go directly to work.

Dual enrollment is not new at Northeast State.

Since 1996, the College has offered courses focused on general education subjects such as English, Math, and Psychology.

Since 2007, approximately 3,000 students have taken general education courses offered through our dual enrollment program.

A recent Community College Research Center study noted career-focused dual enrollment programs aid high school graduation, provide a college GPA boost, and improve persistence to college graduation. Northeast State statistics show a 95 percent pass rate for dual enrollment students.

Currently, students may apply for the Tennessee Dual Enrollment Grant.

To offset tuition costs, students are eligible for up to $300 per semester for one course.

Students may receive an additional $300 per semester if they have a 21 composite ACT score or a 3.0 high school GPA.

If eligibility requirements are met, students may receive $1,200 in grant money without it affecting their Tennessee HOPE Scholarship funds.

For information about general education dual enrollment, contact Gwen Widner, coordinator, Dual Enrollment Programs, at jgwidner@NortheastState.edu or 423.354.2586/423.354.2505.