College Credit Plus’ Demonstrable Impact on Tri-C Experience
Though Cuyahoga Community College is nearing its 59th anniversary, the number of students has rapidly increased, almost doubling from the 2018-2019 school year.
While this might be due to the vast repertoire of classes that have been offered in the past few years, the expansion of the College Credit Plus (CCP) program also proves to be having a great impact. The OhioHigherEd website states that the program provides Ohio students, from 7th to 12th grade, a variety of opportunities and classes at no cost and aims to help them increase their knowledge and readiness for secondary level education. CCP students have a statistically significant impact on Tri-C’s student life and academic experiences.
For these students, the transition from K-12 public school to community college is quite difficult. High schools require the students to have a grade point average (GPA) higher than 3.0. Once deemed eligible for the program, students must work with both their high schools and Tri-C to register for classes. Executive Director of Enrollment Operations, Heidi Nichols, explains the main struggles, “When you become a CCP student you have to talk to your high school and you have to do the ‘intent to participate form,’ then you have to fill out the authorization form with your high school. Then you have to wait for your application process and talk to a Tri-C counselor. There are a lot of steps involved in College Credit Plus because it’s a state-regulated program. There’s something by law we have to have you do, and it can be confusing for students because when you’re working with your high school, and how it’s scheduled, the rules are different.” However, Nichols spoke about the program’s positive impact, saying, “I think College Credit Plus has given so much college access to students that may have limited college access if any at all.”
As younger students step into the college environment, teachers must also take note of the wider age range of students. Professor Genevieve Luca, a Sport and Exercise Program instructor, reveals that the age gap between the students does not separate them from being successful in the class. She discusses that hard work and dedication, no matter the age, are the key to achieving success. She said, “I see the CCP students who have those skills and then I see students who are traditional Tri-C students have those skills, and they will do well if they have those skills. If they don’t, it doesn’t matter whether they’re CCP or not – you know they’re just going to struggle. I see both. It’s really not dependent on CCP.”
The personal experience of students is always important when looking at the overall benefits of any program. For dually enrolled Strongsville High School senior and CCP Student, Noah Ragan, the program has helped him in both his high school experience and his future college plans. Strongsville High School offers both English 1010 and 1020, in person, with teachers from the school district instructing. When asked about his experience taking English 1010, in person, Ragan said, “A lot of it [credit] may also transfer to other schools, but it is also nice to get the rigor of the coursework in a high school level, where I feel to be in a real class or even the AP class, though some of the AP classes don’t transfer [AP English classes] to where I want to go.”
Since Noah took the classes through Tri-C instead of the Advanced Placement (AP) program, the list of colleges where his credits would transfer, grew. This gives him more opportunities to further his education. With the overall benefits of the CCP program, the increase of students partaking in it shows its substantial impact. For motivated students looking for an opportunity to expand their learning circle outside of high school, the CCP program at Tri-C grants them that opportunity, aiding them in reaching their goals, both in the present and in the future.