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2018 March 21 - 03:47 pm

Kansas Technical Colleges Skeptical Of Dual Credit Proposal Costs

Growing Popularity Straining Colleges’ Ability To Pay

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Technical colleges in Kansas are skeptical a plan to offer 15 credit hours of dual-enrollment college courses at no charge to the state’s high school students.

Ben Schears is the president of Northwest Kansas Technical College in Goodland. He told the Kansas Board of Regents Wednesday that technical colleges are worried about being stretched too thin.

“As we move into this legislative session, waiting to see what happens with the Legislature, we just don’t want to have too many programs that are being put out there and not have enough funding to be able to successfully run all of them,” he said.

Gov. Sam Brownback wants to use $7.3 million in the current fiscal year to bring the program he championed in 2012 to full funding, the Lawrence Journal- World reported. The program currently provides nearly $12 million in tuition support for high school students to earn college credit by taking career and technical education courses.

Schears said the program has become more popular in recent years and funding hasn’t kept up with the demand.

The new proposal is estimated to cost about $24.5 million a year. It would encourage high schools to partner with local technical schools or community colleges for students to earn dual credit. The state would reimburse the colleges a rate of about $175 per three-hour course.

Blake Flanders, president and CEO of the Board of Regents, said it is too soon to tell what the new program will eventually evolve into. He said a Regents task force is drafting a bill, and the group hasn’t yet determined exactly how to price the courses. Flanders said community colleges and technical schools use varying rates for different kinds of courses.

Flanders also said it isn’t yet clear how much of the cost the postsecondary schools would bear, because some classes may be taught by high school faculty, who are also qualified to teach at the college level.

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