INA — Every semester, hundreds of local high school students take advantage of Rend Lake College’s dual credit program to save money and get a jump on their education. Last year was no different, with approximately 2,824 students saving $994,400 in tuition and textbook fees, according to information provided by RLC.
The program, which just completed its 12th year, offers tuition-free courses through RLC with a reduced rate for textbook rental for in-district high school students. Students take these classes during the day at their high school, helping meet graduation requirements at both the high school and Rend Lake College. All 13 public high schools in RLC’s district are registered with the program, of which 12 participated last year.
Savings for students increase drastically when a student takes several dual credit courses, effectively shortening their education at RLC. The courses are taught by both college and high school instructors.
“Dual credit classes have helped literally thousands of high school students get a head start in higher education,” said Terry Wilkerson, RLC president. “Their families save hundreds, or perhaps thousands of dollars in tuition and books, and the college credit they earn can shorten the time it takes to graduate from RLC.”
Wilkerson added students receive the same high quality instruction in dual credit classes as they would on RLC’s campus. “Everybody wins through this program,” he said. “Students earn college credit and families save money.”
In tuition only, the program afforded $801,474 in savings for students last year. A total of 8,618 credit hours were earned in the fall and spring semesters at $93 per credit hour.
Additionally, students saved $192,926 in textbook rental fees.
“The dual credit program at Rend Lake College helps our in-district students save thousands of dollars each year on tuition. Plus, it gives students a head-start on achieving their educational goals and meeting degree requirements,” said Hillary Halsey, First-Year Experience coordinator.
During fiscal year 2013, Mt. Vernon Township High School had the most participants in the dual-credit program at 1,170 students, who earned a total of 3,213 credit hours. The savings to the students for those credits is $298,809 in tuition.
Benton Consolidated High School also had a high number of participants at 417 students. The students saved a total of $133,827 in tuition and earned 1,439 credit hours.
Other participants in the program were Christopher High School, Hamilton County Senior High School, Pinckneyville Community High School, Sesser-Valier Community High School, Thompsonville High School, Waltonville High School, Wayne City Community High School, Webber Township High School, Woodlawn High School and Zeigler-Royalton Community High School.