Hoosier high schoolers will have the option to finish dual credit credentials for free this summer, through a pandemic-relief funded program being offered for the second year.
Crossing the Finish Line is offered through Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University. It's for high school students close to finishing their early college degree or career certificate program – including the Indiana College Core, an associate's degree or a career certificate. More than 16,000 Hoosier students are eligible to participate.
Nicole Shankle, Vincennes University's dean of academic early college, said the goal is to help students who are close to finishing a credential overcome barriers made more challenging by COVID-19.
"So if it's a cost barrier, textbook cost barrier or any other fee, this program is removing that barrier to really get them to the finish line and get them to the end," Shankle said.
State data shows more students completed early college credit in recent years.
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But Rebecca Rahschulte, vice president of K-14 initiatives and statewide partnerships for Ivy Tech, said dual credit offerings decreased during COVID-19 and so did enrollment.
"We experienced during the 2020-2021 academic year a drop of about 7.3 percent of dual credit enrollment," she said.
According to the Indiana Department of Education, nearly 1,900 students completed the Crossing the Finish Line program last year, saving more than $1.4 million in tuition, books and other fees.
Ivy Tech and Vincennes are reaching out directly to families and eligible students, but said if families have questions about their eligibility they should reach out to a school counselor.