The number of high school students earning credit from Iowa's community colleges has hit a record level, according to a report released by the Iowa Department of Education. More than 38,000 Iowa high school students took part in joint enrollment opportunities in 2010, a 14 percent increase over the previous year. These students accounted for more than a quarter of community college enrollment.
"Iowa provides high school students with an excellent opportunity to take courses through our highly-regarded community college system, and this report shows that more and more students are making use of this opportunity," said Jason Glass, director of the Iowa Department of Education.
Iowa allows for students to be jointly enrolled in high school as well as community college credit coursework. Most jointly enrolled students do so through Senior Year Plus programs such as Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) and concurrent enrollment. Some students enroll independently by paying tuition or enrolling in courses delivered through contractual agreements that do not meet the definition of concurrent enrollment.
"Iowa's school districts and community colleges are helping tens of thousands of students across the state take the courses they need to succeed in school, in careers and in life," added Dr. Roger Utman, Administrator of the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation at the Iowa Department of Education.
Some of the highlights of this report include:
- Enrollment grew to a record high of 38,283 in 2010;
- Year-to-year growth was 14.2 percent, which was above the typical rate of growth. Average annual growth over the last five years was 8.4 percent;
- Jointly enrolled students accounted for 25.7 percent of total community college enrollment;
- Joint enrollment accounts for 13.6 percent of total credit hours;
- Most students (78 percent) enrolled through courses delivered through a contractual agreement between a community college and school district;
- Fifteen percent of students enrolled through Postsecondary PSEO courses;
- Fifty-nine percent of joint enrollees were seniors in high school, and 32 percent were juniors;
- Approximately 51 percent of joint enrollees were female, a lower proportion than the total student body;
- Approximately 10 percent of joint enrollees had a minority racial or ethnic background, a lower proportion than the total student body;
- Of courses taken by jointly enrolled students, the most common subject areas are English language and literature, social sciences and history, and mathematics, followed by foreign language and literature and various career and technical disciplines.