Pellissippi State: Dual enrollment registers record number of high school students

The number of high school students taking classes in the Fast Forward Dual Enrollment program at Pellissippi State Community College this semester is at an all-time high, and overall enrollment for the group has jumped nearly 40 percent since last fall.

Dual enrollment allows high school juniors and seniors the chance to take college-level classes at their schools or at Pellissippi State and receive credit simultaneously for high school and college.

This fall, Fast Forward registered 1,128 students. That reflects a 29 percent rise in enrollment in Blount County, a 44 percent increase in Knox County, and a 35 percent jump in home school and other students.

“Fast Forward is a program that allows high school students who are ably prepared to complete college courses,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “We are very proud that those students and their parents and counselors recognize the quality of our classes and faculty.”

“This is what it’s all about: helping students reach their goals,” said Spencer Joy, head of the Fast Forward program. “Our success is attributable to more dual enrollment classes being offered at local high schools and to building new relationships with high school counselors and parents.”

A Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation grant pays for eligible high-schoolers to earn up to 12 hours of college credit, and dual enrollment students can take additional classes if they choose, at their own cost.

Fast Forward offered 39 classes at high schools in Knox and Blount counties this semester, up from 22 last fall, and dual enrollment increased at 13 of the 19 schools where the classes are offered. Among those with record enrollments: Bearden High School, with 103 participating students; Farragut, 115; Halls, 96; and Maryville, 82.

About half of all dual enrollment students are taking classes at their high schools, with the other half opting for classes on Pellissippi State campuses. Fast Forward students make up 10.5 percent of the college’s credit enrollment.

Pellissippi State is looking toward continued growth in the Fast Forward program, and it offers numerous options for parents and students to learn about dual enrollment opportunities. In early 2014, Pellissippi State will host Fast Forward information sessions as well as a home school open house. The free events—both of which are open to the public—will feature presentations and question-and-answer sessions.

“Dual Enrollment allows high school students to double up on their learning and take up to four 3-credit classes that count for college credit,” said Joy. “Those students then get a jump-start on their college education, entering college as freshmen who already have 12 credits under their belt.

“The academic experience is very beneficial, but in many ways, the best part of the program is that high school students find independence by taking part in the transitional process of becoming a college student early, by registering for classes on their own and pursuing other formative college experiences.”

For more information about Fast Forward, visit www.pstcc.edu/dual or call Spencer Joy at (865) 539-7349.

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