Program helps Rowan students earn college credits

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Elizabeth Cook
Salisbury Post
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College will offer Learn & Earn Online to area students this fall.
Beginning in August, RCCC’s Learn & Earn Online program will give high school students the ability to earn tuition-free college credits online.
High school guidance counselors are sharing information about the program with students choosing their fall courses, says Kathy McDuffie, director for secondary schools in the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
Some students may be able to earn their first-two years of college credits by the time they graduate from high school.
Rowan-Cabarrus is making the program available to students in grades 9-12, but local school systems decide which grades they will allow to participate. RCCC’s area includes Rowan-Salisbury, Kannapolis and Cabarrus school systems.
Here is a Q&A on the program from the Rowan-Salisbury Schools:
Q: What grade levels will be allowed to participate in Learn & Earn Online?A: The Rowan-Salisbury School System has decided to limit LEO to 11th and 12th graders. It is believed that most 9th and 10th graders are not mature enough to successfully handle the expectations of an online college course. Both 9th and 10th graders have rigorous course expectations and requirements in addition to adjusting to high school. The additional requirements could have a significant negative impact on many 9th and 10th graders. Also, LEO course grades will become part of the student’s permanent college transcript. Failure to successfully complete LEO courses could have a negative impact on the student’s future college career.
Q: Will Learn & Earn Online courses be assigned to one of the four instructional blocks during the regular school day?
A: Yes. To help with monitoring students’ successful completion of LEO courses, RSSS will require students to have a block in their regular schedule for the LEO courses.
Benefits
Benefits of the program listed on RCCC’s Web site include:
– It’s free. All courses are tuition-free with no academic fees of any kind.
– Students can earn two years of transferable college credits or a two-year associate degree while simultaneously earning a high school diploma.
– It’s convenient. Learn & Earn students take their RCCC courses online and never have to travel to campus. They can complete their RCCC coursework wherever they have computer and Internet access.
– Students who earn two years of college credit can avoid taking the SAT and ACT exams. When Learn & Earn students transfer to a four-year college, they will enter those institutions as “advanced freshmen” and can quickly move to junior or second-semester sophomore status.
– Learn & Earn Online can improve a student’s chances of attending the four-year college or university of his/her choice. Learn & Earn students are considered transfer students, meaning they do not compete with traditional students for freshman admission.
– The Learn & Earn Online program adds variety, rigor and an enhanced academic challenge for students. Learn & Earn students can gain up to five quality points for every online college course they complete. This will raise their high school grade-point average and class ranking.
– Learn & Earn Online makes college much more affordable for all students and families. Students can earn the first-two years of college credit tuition free, cutting the cost of a four-year degree in half. At the same time, students who do well in their Learn & Earn Online courses enhance their ability to secure scholarships for their third and fourth years of college.
For more information see www.rowancabarrus.edu/gat-eway2college/learn_online
UNCG, others
Other online programs available to local students include:
– iSchool at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, part of the Learn & Earn Online program. iSchool allows students to take college-level courses, working from the computer labs in their schools. Thirteen courses are offered this year, ranging from elementary German to Contemporary Moral Problems.
For information online, see web.uncg.edu/dcl/web/ischool/ index.php
– N.C. Virtual Public School, also linked to Learn & Earn, began offering online high-school courses in the summer of 2007, and it now includes middle-school courses. Some 25,000 students have participated statewide. The program offers online courses and services such as test preparation, career planning services and credit recovery. For more information go online to www.ncvps.org

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