UT, TPS Announce Collaboration to Help High School Students Earn Associate Degrees

Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Romules Durant spoke at a press conference March 24 along with, from left, TPS and UT student Taylor O’Toole, UT President Sharon L. Gaber and UT Professor Rebecca Schneider. The four announced a collaboration between UT and TPS that will allow more high school students like O’Toole take college classes.

A collaboration between The University of Toledo and Toledo Public Schools will allow students to graduate with both their high school diploma and an associate’s degree.

Through the College Credit Plus program students are able to enroll in the academic tracks that will apply to UT’s associate of arts degree in general studies, enabling them to earn that college degree upon high school graduation.

“UT is excited to expand this partnership with TPS to make a college education more accessible and convenient for students. Not only will these students be able to accomplish their goals of earning college credits early, but also have a degree in hand, further positioning them well for success,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said.

“Our mission is to produce competitive college and career ready graduates through a rigorous curriculum … and this new collaboration will allow many students to get a jump start on their future by earning college credits while still in high school,” TPS Superintendent Romules Durant said.

The statewide College Credit Plus program gives college-bound seventh- through 12th-grade students the opportunity to earn high school credit and college credit simultaneously at any Ohio public college or university.

The University also is helping to train high school teachers to teach the college courses right in their high school classrooms to make it even more accessible for students to participate in the College Credit Plus program.

Dr. Rebecca Schneider, professor and chair of UT’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the Judith Herb College of Education, recently received two state grants to develop programs and pay for high school teachers to earn the needed qualifications.

UT is one of 19 applicants chosen to receive a portion of $10 million in new grant funding allocated by the Ohio General Assembly as part of the Straight A Fund. UT received a total of $769,000 in grants from the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Higher Education. The grants will fund tuition for a master’s degree for up to 40 teachers to be able to teach at the college level.

“The program gives students the advantage of starting the transition to college early, while reducing the cost and length of time to receive a bachelor’s degree,” Schneider said. “By credentialing dozens of high school teachers in our area to teach college courses, we are expanding higher education opportunities for more children.”

A total of 911 students enrolled in the College Credit Plus at UT in fall 2015. Of those, 401 are TPS students.