Starting a public speaking class can be nerve-wracking under normal circumstances, but for Sydney Feagans, it was especially intimidating. The Bloomington High School North junior is taking Communications 101 at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington. She’s one of 141 people enrolled in the Bloomington campus’s dual enrollment program this fall.
The program is similar to dual credit courses that count for both high school and college credit. The biggest difference is dual credit courses are typically taught at a high school, while dual enrollment allows high-school age students to take courses on a college campus. Students can reverse transfer credits from a dual enrollment course to their high school, but they don’t have to. Dual enrollment courses are also offered online, but that’s usually not what students choose, said Trudy Weddle, director of secondary initiatives at Ivy Tech Bloomington.
“Typically we see students coming onto campus,” she said. “That’s the goal, to get here and to experience a college setting.”
The concept is growing in popularity. While not all students are going to the campus at 200 Daniels Way, the number taking dual enrollment courses this year is more than double what it was last fall.
The biggest reason for the jump is marketing, Weddle said.
Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus has spent the past few months trying to raise awareness of the program’s benefits. Students have to pay tuition and fees for dual enrollment courses — Ivy Tech’s dual credit courses are free — but they have access to on-campus services, such as free tutoring. Ivy Tech credits can also be transferred to four-year institutions across the state and give students a head start on their college degree.