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Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
160 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608

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Dual High School-College Enrollment--GSCS Testimony 10-17-16

GARDEN STATE COALITION OF SCHOOLS/GSCS

160 West State Street, Trenton NJ 08608

gscschools@gmail.com  732-618-5755

     www.gscschools.org

 

Senate Higher Education Committee Hearing, October 17, 2016

S2624

 

            Good morning Chairwoman Cunningham and members of the committee.  I am Betsy Ginsburg, Executive Director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.  Thank you for the chance to speak today about S2624.

            The bill is laudable in its intent to help New Jersey students manage the high cost of a college education, but we feel that it needs further consideration and modification so that dual enrollment programs can offer the greatest benefit to students. 

            At GSCS we talk a lot about the “promise” of public education.  Dual enrollment has the potential to expand that promise by making college more affordable to more students.  However, creating a program that requires public school districts to pay a portion of the tuition—one third to one half--for the students who qualify for dual enrollment also has the potential to impoverish school districts that have already been challenged by more than six years of diminished state aid.   It is possible that districts with students who would benefit the most from these educational opportunities may find themselves in the position of having to eliminate other valuable and hard-won programs—such as AP classes--in order to meet this latest financial burden. 

            Many New Jersey districts have already negotiated effective dual enrollment programs with local institutions of higher learning.  We believe that local districts are best equipped to determine the specifics of the dual enrollment programs in which they participate.

            Other questions also go unanswered in this legislation.  They include:

  • Transferable credits: Credits that students receive must be transferable to a range of higher education institutions; otherwise students’ options are once again limited and time and money are wasted.
  • Effect on AP courses: Students who complete Advanced Placement courses in their home districts and score 4 or 5 on the AP tests, often receive either credit or introductory course waivers at many institutions of higher learning in New Jersey and beyond.  Is dual enrollment a more effective way of making the college process quicker and more cost effective?
  • Transportation: In some districts, high schools are at a distance from the nearest institution of higher learning.  How will students be transported and who will bear the cost?
  • Online courses: Will online courses from accredited institutions of higher learning qualify for inclusion in dual enrollment programs?  More and more high schools and colleges require students to take at least one online course prior to graduation. These courses may be more cost effective, increase the options available to students and lessen scheduling and transportation problems.

 

We hope that in the legislative process, the questions posed by GSCS and our colleagues in the education community can be answered and necessary modifications made to the bill.   GSCS stands ready to help in that effort.


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828



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