High school students in East Central College’s service area seeking to earn dual enrollment credit will pay just 50 percent of the in-district tuition per credit hour.

The proposal establishes a dual enrollment rate for high school students, where in the past students would pay the normal rate of tuition depending on their location.

ECC Vice President Tia Robinson said not only will the new tuition rate address many concerns raised by students interested in dual enrollment on-campus or online, but also create more incentives for students still in high school to enroll at the college.

“This is actually a good problem for us to have, when we look up and realize we have about 100 students who want to be able to enroll in our online courses and be able to come and take courses on campus,” Robinson said.

The alignment, according to ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer, is consistent with most practices at other community colleges in Missouri.

Bauer added that it offers new incentives to students who might be thinking about East Central, but aren’t convinced because of the price of dual enrollment. While dual credit students typically pay half-rate already, this alignment offers the same to students who dual enroll at the college.

Dual credit students take specific college-level classes while still in high school and earn credit toward a high school diploma requirements and college at the same time. Dual enrollment, however, is when a student is enrolled in a college-level class while in high school, but only earning college credit.

“A student who’s in high school taking dual credit will pay half the district rate, if that student is going to come here and take classes on the ground or online that student will have the same rate of tuition,” Bauer said. “We see this as an incentive and a way to reach those students and also a way to be consistent in terms of the rate we’re charging those students who are still in high school.”

Director of Dual Enrollment and College Readiness Dr. Russ Henderson said the tuition alignment is the best way to give high school students a straight answer on how much dual enrollment will cost at ECC.

“We didn’t have a clear policy for that and I couldn’t give folks a very good answer,” Henderson said. “I think the benefit of the tuition for all of the high schools in our service areas is, is in that we capture a group of students who wouldn’t even think about us normally with the opportunity to take the dual credit or a reduced rate of dual enrollment classes outside of their normal high school day.”

Missouri Baptist and Drury University are ECC’s biggest competitors within the college’s service area, Henderson said. Those schools are currently giving dual enrollment students a tuition break.

He said aligning tuition and offering the half-rate will make ECC more sellable to prospective high schoolers.

“The alignment will allow us to sell ECC to more people using tuition to do that,” Henderson said. “We’re trying to offer folks a reason to come to East Central, not only through the provision of dual credit, but also dual enrollment. We want them as a student.”