For high school students looking to get a head start on their college careers, Purdue University Northwest can help. 

The university's concurrent enrollment program is part of a state requirement that each high school offer at least two concurrent enrollment/dual credit courses to students.

“Purdue University Northwest currently offers concurrent enrollment with 31 high schools across Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties,” said Anne Gregory, director of Purdue Northwest's School of Education and Counseling.

In 2016, more than 34,000 dual credits were awarded by PNW to nearly 3,000 students, according to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s Early College Credit report.

Students can satisfy requirements for high school diplomas while earning credits for college, according to the commission. Concurrent enrollment courses are taught in the high school by the faculty there.

PNW is one of seven schools in the state, but the only one in Northwest Indiana, accredited by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships to offer the program.

The accreditation  ensures an academically rigorous program with the same same achievement standards as those in on-campus classes, among other requirements.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education report, issued in January, listed PNW as second in state in the number of students enrolled in dual credit courses and number of credits awarded, behind only Indiana University in Bloomington.

“Among our partnering high schools, we are finding courses in business, education and humanities — English, history and government, in particular — are more popular by students,” Gregory said.

Concurrent enrollment programs can create numerous opportunities for college-bound students.

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The Indiana Commission of Higher Education has indicated those earning dual credits could obtain numerous benefits.

Of Indiana students who participated in dual credit programs in 2016, about 30 percent earned more than 12 college credits, or the equivalent of one semester, the commission's Early College Credit report states. About 12 percent of the students in dual credit programs earned two or more semesters of college credit, according to the report.

Those who earn dual credits can pursue advanced-level major coursework earlier in their college careers than those who don't have dual credits, the Early College Credit report indicates. Students often can fulfill their college's general education requirements through their dual credit courses.

Those taking concurrent enrollment classes through PNW could end up at the university or another state school after graduating high school.

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“The trends we see in our program mirror that of the state, most notably in that students taking a Purdue Northwest dual credit course are likely to pursue a college degree at PNW or another Indiana institution,” Gregory said.

Of the 2016 graduating high school students who enrolled in a PNW dual credit course, 49 percent continued their educations at an Indiana college. 

Before the concurrent enrollment program can be offered at high schools, formal agreements between the schools and PNW must be established.

The courses available and requirements are included in it, and it details how they meet the academic and accreditation standards of the high school and PNW.

Among other things, to be eligible to participate in PNW's concurrent enrollment program, high school students must:

  • Have obtained the knowledge necessary for classes offered through the program as determined by their teachers. 
  • Have course participation approved by the guidance counselors and obtained their parents' permission.

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