Academics & Research

High schoolers get head start on UH classes

Brayan Garza appreciates a good game of number crunching.

Seeing the value in earning college credit while in high school, the accounting freshman successfully completed courses in calculus, statistics and government.

His efforts paid off as the classes were redeemed for nine credit hours that went toward his bachelor’s degree, saving him several hundred dollars.

“It’s a load off your shoulder,” Garza said. “One less class to pay for.”

Starting next year, UH will reward several local high school students who rack up college credits just as Garza did.

Through a recently-awarded $605,000 grant from the Greater Texas Foundation, the University will expand its partnerships in Texas with the Early College High Schools program, awarding financial support to 25 students each year from 2012 -2018. The University is one of five Texas colleges to receive the grant.

ECHSs allow students to earn dual credit while in high school – up to 60 credit hours. UH is currently working with one local ECHS and will be able to start working with several others.

“The idea is to get the students to start thinking about a bachelor’s degree while they are in high school,” said Marshall Schott, the assistant vice president for instructional support and outreach.

Throughout the years, the University has enrolled many students who have earned college credit while in high school. However, the University never considered these students a special group, Schott said.

The students selected from ECHSs beginning next year will be tracked and treated as a special population, he added. Plans are also in motion to invite ECHS students and their parents to campus for a special orientation.

Students entering the program next year may be from any part of Texas.

Selection for the program will based on grade point average, class rank and entrance exam scores among other factors.

Students selected through the program will likely have earned 45-60 college credits while in high school Schott said.

“Some of these students are already completing associate degrees before finishing high school,” he said.

Schott said ECHSs have gained popularity because they help reduce the time and cost of education.

He said hopes the University’s efforts with the new special population will eventually lead to increase enrollment in graduate programs.

Political science sophomore Jessica Pitre regrets not taking classes to earn college credits while in high school.

“At the time, I was working and I didn’t have time to do that also,” Pitre said.

“I would be finished with a whole lot of stuff I have to take now, and I would have saved money.”

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