Dual enrollment in development for UNCA, Asheville city schools

By Daniel Hall – [email protected] – Staff Writer | April 8, 2015 |
The dual-enrollment program between UNC Asheville and Asheville City Schools continues to develop.
Applications will be distributed to rising seniors at Asheville High School following an information session on April 16. At this session, students will learn about the program and what is expected of them if they choose to enroll.
Representing UNCA at this gathering will be Shannon Earle, senior director of admissions and financial aid, and Pat McClellan, assistant provost.
Class registration begins in August for students in the program. McClellan said options will consist of the core, entry-level classes freshmen typically take.
“We are primarily looking at a few 100-level classes,” McClellan said. “Something like statistics or pre-calculus. They were looking at language 120, but that may or may not work. But definitely some of the 100-level classes. Core, general education classes.”
The difficulty in finding classes that will work for the program is in adhering to the high schools’ schedules. Rod Daniels, assistant principal at Asheville High School, said for ease of transportation and timing, it would be best for classes to take place within the 2-3:30 p.m. time slot. This coincides with the school’s fourth period. Students would be transported by bus to and from the campus.
“There will at least be 30 from Asheville High,” Daniels said. “I don’t know how many SILSA will have. They might have the same amount.”
Along with certain academic requirements, the university requires students to obtain signed permission from a school official to apply.
When evaluating applicants, the school looks for mature students who are academically prepared for a college environment, Daniels said.
Earle said UNCA will largely trust Asheville High School officials in determining which students are a good fit for the program.
Earle said students will be responsible for regular in-state tuition, but will not have access to the same aid available to regular, degree-seeking students.
“They can’t get federal and state aid,” Earle said, “and we don’t have institutional aid that is earmarked for high school students. So they won’t be dipping into any scholarship dollars or federal opportunities we have here for our students.”
This leaves the matter of how exactly students will fund their enrollment at UNCA. Earle said Asheville High School, through fundraising efforts, will foot the bill for its dual-enrolled students.
Daniels said the financial aspect of the program still needs to be finalized, however.
This program is not the first time students have had the opportunity to dual-enroll at UNCA.
“We have always had, for as long as I can remember,” McClellan said, “high school students dual-enrolled at UNC Asheville. We would have anywhere from five to 10, or so, in a given semester.”
McClellan said there have previously been about 5-10 high school students per year who attend classes at UNCA, in tandem with their regular education. In the past, students enrolled on their own initiative and had to arrange transport themselves. Now, the program provides a formal structure that will make each stage of the process easier for the student.
Earle said class openings will not be reserved for high school students. Registration occurring before August will be unaffected by the program. She said this, along with the classes having to fall within a specific time slot, could potentially lead to limited class selection for the students.
McClellan agreed this was a possibility.
“It will be somewhat, perhaps, limited,” McClellan said, “but that’s typically the time frame we registered dual-enrolled students in the past.”
McClellan said if  high school students are unable to get the classes they want, certain solutions may be considered. For example, if 20 students want to take a full class, a new section might be created for them. She said a balance must be struck between the needs of the dual-enrollment program and the needs of regular degree-seeking students, so that neither party is disadvantaged.
Earle said the hope is that students in the program will go on to register at UNCA upon graduation. If not at UNCA, then at another university.
“I just think it’s a great opportunity for students,” Earle said, “if they want to take advantage of it.”