Penn College NOW

With the start of the 2014-15 school year right around the corner, students at Williamsport Area High School are now able to get a start on their college career as they finish up high school.

The Pennsylvania College of Technology has partnered with Williamsport Area School District to allow students to take Penn College classes through the Penn College NOW dual enrollment program, with no cost for tuition.

“The Penn College NOW dual enrollment program is accredited by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, a standards-based accreditation organization that assures that the program offers the highest-level quality dual enrollment program for students,” Jeannette Carter, director of outreach for K-12 at Penn College, said.

Penn College began offering the program’s courses in 2007, with the focus originally on technical areas such as electronics, computer networking and computer information systems. In fall 2012, the program offered it’s first general education dual enrollment course (math) at the high school. During this time there was a fee per course credit.

According to Carter, in 2014 Penn College began a large expansion to increase equity and access to the program by changing the funding structure of the program. Since then the cost of tuition has changed to $0, instead the school district pays a fee of $2,500 for it’s students to participate in the program. Although there is no tuition cost, students still need to purchase learning materials such as textbooks for the courses they are taking.

“Parents and students have expressed gratitude for this opportunity, assistant dean of sciences, humanities and visual communications: liberal arts and sciences, and former Williamsport Area High School principal, Michael Reed said. “Students will be better prepared for college, and transferring credits will save many families thousands of dollars toward future collegiate expenses.”

Williamsport Area School District is planning on offering courses in the following major disciplines this school year: accounting, building construction, computer-aided drafting, computer information systems, education, electronics engineering technology, culinary arts and hospitality management, plastics and polymer technology and welding

The following general education disiplines will also be offered this year: chemistry, English, history, psychology and math.

“The goal is to ensure that all qualified students have access to Penn College courses while they are in high school, thus increasing access in an equitable fashion to all students who desire to try college,” Carter said.

To be qualified for the program the students must pass collefe placement testing that is realted to the course they wish to enroll on. The students must also pass the reading placement test by reading at a grade level 10.7 or higher. Mostly juniors and seniors are elebiable for most courses, but a few courses are restricted to only seniors. Some of the courses are open to Sophomores.

“The partnership between Williamsport Area High School and Penn College has allowed us to add over 20 plus college level courses that are offered to students who attend our school, Principal of Williamsport Area High School, Brandon Pardoe said. “This is a unique opportunity for our students to earn high school and collegiate credit under one roof. This is one of the benefits for attending a comprehensive high school such as Williamsport Area High School.”