(MARSHALL, Texas) – By the time high schoolers reach their junior or senior year, most of them are dreaming of their future independence. Texas State Technical College’s dual enrollment program can help them get a jump-start on their college education, giving them an early taste of that independence.
TSTC partners with several high schools across Texas to offer their students a chance to take one or more technical classes per semester for college credit. The credits earned through dual enrollment are transferable toward a certificate of completion or an Associate of Applied Science degree at TSTC..
“(High school students) get the college experience of having to do their own time management, be responsible for their own work,” TSTC dual enrollment recruiting representative Maria Zulch said. “It helps them to realize that there’s something more than just high school and there’s something different than a mainstream university that’s available to them.”
The program is available to all students at high schools that partner with TSTC, though most schools prefer that their students wait until their junior or senior year so they can focus on obtaining their required high school credits first. Typically, juniors take one class (three to four credit hours) a semester, and seniors take two classes. However, they have the option to take more or start earlier if their schedule allows it.
Classes cost $33 a credit hour ($99-$132 per class) — saving the student thousands of dollars compared to waiting until they graduate — and students are required to obtain their own textbooks and tools. Some high schools may provide the required funding for their students.
During the 88th legislative session, Texas lawmakers passed the Financial Aid for Swift Transfer (FAST) program as part of House Bill 8, which will enable certain students to enroll at no cost to the student in dual credit courses offered by certain public institutions of higher education starting with the 2023-24 school year. For more information on FAST, go to bit.ly/fastfaqs.
“We want to make sure that we don’t have someone that is lacking education,” Zulch said. “Our area is saturated with educators. We want to make sure it’s beneficial for those students and TSTC, as well as the high schools and the home-schooling partners.”
TSTC Drafting and Design student Vanessa Martinez is a former participant in the dual enrollment program. She is earning her Associate of Applied Science degree in Engineering and Graphics Design Technology at TSTC’s Marshall campus and working as a junior engineer for Republic Elite.
“Because I took advantage of the dual enrollment program, I had the appropriate knowledge to help me in my current position as a junior engineer,” Martinez said. “The software knowledge that the program provides is used in a wide range of drafting careers. I would encourage anyone who is interested to take advantage of the different dual enrollment programs that TSTC provides.”
For more information on dual enrollment, go to tstc.edu/admissions/dual-enrollment. To schedule a visit from the dual enrollment program staff for a particular school, contact statewide executive director Kadie Svrcek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration for the spring semester is underway. For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.
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With 10 campuses across the state, Texas State Technical College helps to strengthen the Texas workforce with highly skilled, technically competent graduates. Operating on a unique funding model based on student employment
outcomes, the college celebrated 55 years of service to the state of Texas in 2020. For more information, visit tstc.edu.