BY Marc Summers
Gadsden, Ala. — More high school students than ever before took advantage of the dual enrollment program at Gadsden State Community College marking a 57 percent increase since 2020. This announcement comes on the heels of the Alabama Community College System releasing data that shows an increase of over 15 percent in high school students participating in dual enrollment statewide.
“Dual enrollment is certainly a great way for students to get a head start on their college experience,” said Tonya Douthitt, dual enrollment coordinator at Gadsden State. “I believe we will continue to see an upward trend in dual enrollment across our service area as more students learn about these opportunities.”
Dual enrollment gives Alabama’s high school students access to college-level classes that apply to credit in both high school and college at the same time. Unlike Advanced Placement honors classes in high school, a student’s grades for dual enrollment classwork are the only factor in determining whether the student receives full college credit for the class. The dual enrollment classes at Gadsden State are delivered through a variety of methods, including traditional in-person instruction, hybrid and online.
Aida Massenburg, 17, a junior at Glencoe High School, said she chose to take online dual enrollment classes so she could complete as many general studies classes as possible before becoming a college freshman.
“I am getting a jump start on my college education by enrolling in courses that are much more affordable than the same courses taught at four-year universities,” she said. “I have already completed two classes, and I have plans to take four more classes before high school graduation.”
Recently, an additional $5 million was awarded by the Alabama Legislature and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey for dual enrollment opportunities at Alabama’s community colleges. Those funds as well as funds designated last year are being used to help expand dual enrollment scholarships to high school students interested in taking college-level science, technology, engineering, and math courses at community colleges, like Gadsden State.
Programs that are eligible for scholarship awards include Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Auto Collision Repair, Automotive Manufacturing Technology, Automotive Service Technology, Carpentry, Child Development, Civil Engineering Technology, Computer Science, Diesel Mechanics, Electronics Engineering Technology, Electrical Technology, Health Information Technology, Industrial Automation Technology, Mechanical Design Technology, Mechatronics, MSSC – Certified Production Technician, Office Administration, Paralegal/Legal Assistant, Precision Machining and Welding. These programs require a 2.0 GPA or higher for placement.
STEM-approved scholarship courses are anatomy, astronomy, biology (103 and 104), chemistry, computer science, geography, geology, math, physical science, and physics. Students will need a 2.5 GPA to participate in STEM-related academic work.
Students must be in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade and have approval from a high school counselor. Students must complete an admissions application to Gadsden State as well as a dual enrollment program approval form, which requires signatures from the student, counselor, and principal. Courses in English, math and computer science require minimum placement scores before registration.
For more information about dual enrollment at Gadsden State, visit gadsdenstate.edu/ACEinstitute.