High School Students Save Time, Money and Earn College Credits While Still in High School Through the College’s Successful Dual Enrollment Programs
(Delaware & Chester Counties, PA • June 21, 2021)—Thousands of high school students have found Delaware County Community College’s High School Dual Enrollment programs enable them to earn transferable college credits, save money, reduce time toward earning a college credential and obtain a jump-start on acclimating to college ahead of many of their peers. This year, dual enrollment students Ashley Ellis of Springfield High School, Caleb Dougherty of Upper Darby High School and Nathanial Ward of Coatesville Area Senior High School (CASH) each had the distinct honor of graduating with an associate degree and a high school diploma.
“If you are looking for a unique way to advance your education level while saving impressive amounts of money, it would be a good idea to look into dual enrollment,” says Ward, who did an electrical apprenticeship while at the College and was one of the top 25 graduates at CASH in Chester County.
The College has offered dual enrollment programs for decades but started offering significantly reduced tuition in 2013. Since then, more than 6,800 students have participated, ranging from homeschooled students interested in becoming acclimated to college while still in high school, to students interested in the skilled trades, to students interested in transferring the college credits they earn to a four-year college or university, or staying at Delaware County Community College to complete an associate degree. Since 2017, a total of 32 students have earned an associate degree at the College within a year after graduating from high school.
Thanks to the College’s dual enrollment programs students like Enoobong Eka, a 2021 Monsignor Bonner/Archbishop Prendergast graduate, will transfer college credits this year to Drexel University to study computer engineering, saving him time and money toward a baccalaureate credential. “I’ll be attending Drexel University this fall and knowing that there are courses that I don’t have to take because of my dual enrollment is such a stress reliever,” says Eka of Sharon Hill.
The College’s dual enrollment programs also have proven beneficial to many homeschooled students, helping them acclimate to a college setting before they enroll in a four-year college or university. This year, 2021 high school graduate Eli Dietrich, a homeschooled student from Media, will transfer all of his dual enrollment college credits to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He entered the dual enrollment program when he was 15 years old. “I found that Delaware County Community College prepared me for higher education in a far more direct way than the education that my peers in traditional high school received,” says Dietrich. “My experience in community college shaped me as a person and made me an advocate for this alternative path to a four-year college education.”
Barbara Ellis of Broomall, who homeschooled her two sons, Braden Ellis and Peirce Ellis, says the College’s dual enrollment programs provided her sons with a valuable opportunity to be evaluated by people other than their parents and helped her sons learn how to navigate a college environment. “The Delaware County Community College High School Dual Enrollment program was crucial to what they have been able to do academically,” says Barbara, whose sons were accepted to multiple four-year universities, including Harvard and Princeton. Braden currently attends Harvard University on scholarship.
The College offers three types of dual enrollment programs: Structured Pathways – a structured regimen of courses to earn College credits toward a specific degree; College in the High School (a.k.a. Concurrent Dual Enrollment) – select courses taught at the high school by a faculty member vetted by the College; and Open Dual Enrollment – high school students enroll, just like other students at the College, for in-person and/or online college-credit courses. All three dual enrollment programs are in demand and growing in Delaware and Chester Counties, as well as throughout Pennsylvania, which is one of only two states nationwide that does not fund dual enrollment programs.
In Delaware County, the College offers Structured Pathways programs at Interboro and Ridley high schools for residential carpentry; at Chester Upland-STEM High School for electro-mechanical; at Springfield High School for health care and medical career exploration; and at Penn Wood High School for Liberal Arts. In Chester County, the College offers Structured Pathways programs at Downingtown High School and at the Technical College High School in teacher education; at Downingtown High School in health care and medical career exploration; at Downingtown STEM Academy and Brandywine Hospital, which both have a one-week, summer health care clinical internship; and at Coatesville Area Senior High School (CASH) in Liberal Arts.
It was through a Structured Pathways program that 2020 CASH graduate Giavanna Felker received an associate degree in Liberal Arts from the College, enabling her to transfer credits to West Chester University (WCU), where she now majors in pre-occupational therapy, toward her goal of earning a doctorate in occupational therapy and working with children who have special needs. “I am grateful beyond words for this program. It has saved me so much time and money while also teaching me so much,” says Felker.
Several other CASH students also benefitted from dual enrollment. Eve Girafalco, one of the top 25 CASH graduates this year, plans to complete her associate degree in psychology at the College and then transfer to WCU. And, although they did not earn associate degrees, three other CASH students each transferred more than 32 dual enrollment college credits when they graduated from CASH this year. The three students include: Brady Frankland, who will transfer to Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania; Gabrielle Okumura, another CASH top 25 grad, who will attend WCU for nursing; and Jonathan Stearns, who will transfer credits into a biology medicine program at the University of the Sciences.
Delaware County Community College’s Open Dual Enrollment program also is showing impressive results. Caleb Dougherty from Upper Darby High School and Ashley Ellis from Springfield High School both graduated this year from the Open Dual Enrollment program. Ashley, who earned an Associate in Arts, is thrilled and plans to enroll in WCU’s accelerated Bachelor of Science to Master of Science degree program. “So exciting,” says Ashley. Caleb, who received an Associate in Science, will enroll in a five-year program ahead of schedule at the University of the Sciences.
According to the American Association of Community Colleges, the average annual tuition and fees for a U.S. community college is $3,770, versus $10,560 per year for public, four-year colleges, so taking courses at a community college and then enrolling in the community college, or transferring credits to a four-year institution, can result in considerable cost savings for students and their parents.
Ten years ago, Pennsylvania provided grant funding for high school dual enrollment programs, but the Commonwealth is now one of only two states that does not offer a statewide dual enrollment program, according to the Education Commission of the States. The state’s community colleges—with limited resources and with the help of some of the area school districts—have continued to offer dual enrollment and seen demand grow. In the 2018-19 academic year, about 19,000 high school students were enrolled in community college courses in Pennsylvania, a 74 percent increase from the 2008-09 academic year.
To learn more about Delaware County Community College’s High School Dual enrollment programs, call (610) 359-5333 or visit: www.dccc.edu/dual-enrollment.
Ashley Ellis of Springfield High School -- L to R, Darren Lipscomb, former director of outreach, recruitment and enrollment services; Ashley Ellis; Marian McGorry, vice president of Academic Affairs; Richard McFadden Jr., dean of Business, Computing & Social Science. Photo taken at the 2021 CDC-compliant photo ceremony held by the College for graduates at the Marple Campus.
Caleb Dougherty of Upper Darby High School - holding his diploma at the 2021 CDC-compliant photo ceremony for graduates at the Marple Campus.
2021 Monsignor Bonner/Archbishop Prendergast graduate Enoobong Eka - standing on the Drexel University campus in front a statute of the Drexel dragon mascot; Eka transferred his dual enrollment credits to Drexel University, where he will start in the fall.
Homeschooled student Eli Dietrich of Media - wearing a UNC sweatshirt, Dietrich is transferring his dual enrollment credits to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.