Officials at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College say dual-credit courses, while helpful to high schoolers, have numerous financial and time costs on the college.
The ECTC Board of Directors and administrative officials discussed the courses Friday during a board of directors meeting. Dual-credit courses allow high school students to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. The courses can be taken at ECTC’s campus, online or at a school, such as Hardin County Schools’ Early College and Career Center. Many students have been awarded an associate degree and a high school diploma simultaneously because of the classes.
It comes at a cost, however.
“Dual credit is just running over us,” college President Juston Pate said.
Numerous school districts in the region use the college to provide dual-credit courses for its students, including Elizabethtown Independent, Hardin County and LaRue County Schools. Pate said there are numerous financial and time costs for dual-credit courses including hiring instructors, training, mentoring and traveling. Currently, high school students are charged one-third of tuition cost per credit hour to take a course.
“When we charge for a class, we charge for instruction and wrap-around services. So we still have to do all that wrap-around stuff for these dual-credit classes,” he said. “Fifty-percent tuition for these is more than justified, especially given that we still provide instructors for the majority of our dual-credit students.”
Pate also said there is a lack of focus on providing relevant dual-credit courses.
“Our metrics for dual credit is quantity,” he said. “Nobody is asking ... ‘How much appropriate dual credit are we providing?’ What about that student who is transferring out of state? Are we getting them what they need? What about that student that gets 48 dual-credit hours in welding that decides they want to be a nurse?”
Pate said he is in a “catch-22.”
“I want to support this,” he said. “I don’t just want to come out as, ‘Oh this is a big negative. It’s all about the money.’ It’s not. It’s about the mission of providing access to students. The reality is it is a financial constraint so, if we can, just marry that up a little bit. Give us a little more funding so that we can properly support this thing.”
ECTC aims to renovate OCCUPATIONAL/TECHNICAL BUILDING. ECTC hopes to get state money for a $24.6 million renovation for the Occupational/Technical Building which houses the college’s Automotive/Diesel Technology and culinary arts programs among others. The Kentucky General Assembly, which convenes in January, will be responsible for crafting a state budget to pay for numerous government projects and agencies for the next two years.
The renovation calls for numerous changes including a revamped culinary center and an event center which can seat over 500 people, according to a presentation by Brent Holsclaw, the college’s chief financial and facilities officer. The Automotive/Diesel Technology program would be moved to another location in a new building named the Transportation and Logistical Center. Pate has said the building renovation is a huge need for the college as the current building is outdated and limited in its usage.
“We can’t simulate an assembly line anywhere in this building,” Pate said.
Pate said the project is a high priority for the entire Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
“Should money become available, we stand a very good chance of getting some money,” he said.
In related news. Pate said the college will hire a part-time staffer to coordinate community outreach classes. The staff member, who begins next month, will look for people who can teach classes the community has an interest in, such as scrapbooking, basic computer skills or conversational Spanish. The classes will be geared more toward enrichment and not for academic credit.