dual enrollment

Dual enrollment is a topic being discussed throughout the state and for good reason.

Giving high school juniors and seniors the chance to earn college credit before getting their diploma could give them the head start needed to earn a degree.

However, not all dual enrollment paths are the same. Opportunities and costs differ, depending on the school district. Some classes cost up to $250.

On top of that, roughly a quarter of high school students take dual enrollment classes. Some rural school districts can't provide the courses.

It's clear the state needs to review dual enrollment and make the changes needed to have it be more effective.

Starting Aug. 1, a task force will do just that.

Legislation approved during the session and signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards creates a 12-member task force that will study dual enrollment policies and offering students two free classes.

The task force isn't what the governor wanted, but it's a step in the right direction. Edwards told the Legislature at the start of the session that he wanted all high school juniors and seniors to have free access to two college courses by next year. Legislation that would have done that stalled during the session.

One major issue has to do with funding. The task force will try to identify sources of money, along with monetary needs.

State Sen. Dan "Blade" Morrish, of Jennings, sponsored the bill Edwards signed. He said the state needs to address dual enrollment, especially with some high school graduates starting their college careers as sophomores because they earned enough credits.

College costs aren't getting any cheaper. Offering high school students the chance to get some colleges courses out of the way beforehand is a big help.

Morrish added that the disconnect between school counselors, parents and students on what exactly is being offered should be addressed. Letting individual school districts do it their own way clearly has its problems.

The task force's recommendations won't be submitted to state lawmakers until Oct. 1, 2020.

They'll certainly have plenty to discuss in the meantime.

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