POMEROY — Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor John Carey and Ohio Department of Education Associate Superintendent Jennifer Felker visited the Rio Grande Community College Meigs Center on Tuesday to discuss the College Credit Plus program with Rio staff.
Also in attendance were Rio administrators and students from the Meigs Local, Eastern Local and Southern Local school districts.
Carey said he hopes to continue building the program to provide college-ready students with an opportunity to get a head start in higher education.
“It’s important for us as the governor is preparing to give State of the State. One of our office’s tasks is to go to different regions to see how our policies are working. It helps us so much to meet with the people implementing those policies and the students benefiting from them. We can discuss what’s working and what needs improved,” Carey said. “The superintendents, the college administration, the students and parents all support College Credit Plus and think it’s a great opportunity. We need to continue to build this program and make sure it works seamlessly.”
Felker said this is the first year for the program in these school districts, and said she is thrilled to see the progress it has made so far in southeastern Ohio.
“It’s important for us to talk about the CCP program and meet some of the students and families who are involved in it,” Felker said. “We get to see first-hand and hear from superintendents how this program is going of the first year of implementation. The number one thing today, however, is to see the smiling faces of the students and the opportunities the program provides them. I’m extremely excited to continue working on this program.”
The College Credit Plus program allows college-ready high school students to take free college courses for college credit before they graduate high school. Eastern student Megan Short is part of the program. Her father, Daniel Short said he is glad the program has given his daughter additional opportunities to succeed academically.
“I think it’s a great program. You have to be a self-driven person to be able to go to college while you are still in high school. Megan has oriented herself toward academics rather than the social side of high school and this program really suits her abilities. She is a great fit for CCP,” Short said. “It’s also a financial savings for us by having her get a couple years of college in now, we’ll be able to save down the road when it comes to tuition.”
Short said she enjoys the program and is excited to be able to begin her college career while still a junior in high school.
“I’d heard about the opportunity, and I was really excited to get a jump start on my college education,” she said. “I’m so happy to be in this program. I love everything about it. Everyone is very welcoming and helps you as much as possible.”
Short’s mother, Lisa Short, said she is proud her daughter because of the responsibility required of students in the program to work as a college student while still in high school.
“I think she’s done an excellent job,” Lisa Short said. “She’s doing this herself. We’ve pulled back and let her take this responsibility as if she were a regular college student. This is her choice, and we are very supportive of her decision. We’re very proud of Megan.”
Board of Trustees members of both the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College also came to the meeting to meet with Carey and Felker. Superintendents, Scot Gheen of Eastern Local, Rusty Bookman, of Meigs Local, and Tony Deem, of Southern Local, said they are excited to watch their students succeed in the program.
Last year, more than 32,000 Ohio students participated in the program, getting a jump start on their college careers and saving tuition dollars.