Amos, Cincinnati Enquirer, March 31, 2008
High schools across the state can begin applying this week for
the first funds available to start “Seniors to Sophomores” early
But it is unclear how many of those high schools – and their
college partners – will be in the Cincinnati region. Some school
officials here are just beginning to talk about how to launch
the initiative in the fall.
Proposed by Gov. Ted Strickland, Seniors to Sophomores would
allow seniors to spend their fourth year of high school taking
courses on college campuses in Ohio. They’d earn college credit
and a high school diploma at the same time.
Ohio’s Board of Regents plans to award up to $4 million in
planning funds to high schools and their college partners that
are “early adopters” of the program, at a rate of up to $100,000
each. These early adopter schools must file an application
explaining how they plan to offer the program to qualifying
seniors next year and beyond.
The state ultimately hopes these new opportunities will increase
college enrollment by 230,000 students in the next decade, said
Michael Chaney, spokesman for the Ohio Board of Regents, which
administers the program with the state education department.
There are now about 470,000 Ohio students enrolled in
A few Cincinnati-area high schools said they’re in talks with
colleges and hope to submit applications soon to get planning
funds, but other high schools said they’re waiting.
“We keep waiting and we want to plan ahead, but I don’t think
there’s enough information out there to plan,” said Mark Farmer,
director of curriculum services for the Northwest school
district, which has two high schools.
Tuition would be free for high school students, but high schools
and colleges must work out how they’ll share state per-student
funds. Also yet to be decided is how and if books and
transportation would be provided.
Cincinnati-area colleges said that high schools they currently
partner with are still discussing the program.
“We’re all for dual enrollment. What we’re going to do in terms
of this particular program is under discussion,” said Ann
Appleton, interim assistant dean of enrollment and student
services at UC Clermont College in Batavia.
Several Cincinnati Public high schools are investigating it too,
said Janet Walsh, district spokeswoman.
Virginia Rhodes, principal at Aiken University High in College
Hill, said she plans to put in an application soon to launch
Seniors to Sophomores.
“We’re trying to blur the lines between high school and
college,” Rhodes said. “A lot of research has been done on how
to get the first generation in a family into college. The answer
is to blur the lines.”
She predicted a dozen to two dozen students may use the Seniors
to Sophomores program next school year.
Sycamore High also is “in conversation” about Seniors to
Sophomores for next fall, said Jennifer Manoukian, the
district’s assistant director of curriculum and instruction for
grades 6 through 12.
“We’re looking at this as an opportunity possibly to craft
something exciting,” she said.
“There are so many issues involved here, not the least of which
is funding,” Manoukian added. “Gov. Strickland says this would
be tuition-free. Well, who would pick up the cost?”
The planning funds this year won’t be there next year, so the
schools’ plans have to include ways to fund the program into the
future, Chaney said.
Through Ohio’s current Post Secondary Education Options program,
high school students of any age can take college-level courses,
usually on a college campus. Also, many high schools have
college-certified instructors teaching college-level courses at
the high schools.
Many more high schools offer Advanced Placement and
International Baccalaureate courses that can yield college
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