More Students Can Earn College Credit Starting 2015-2016 School - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

More Students Can Earn College Credit Starting 2015-2016 School Year

Imagine heading to college with 60 credit hours already under your belt. That's a possibility now for incoming freshman. 

A new law prohibits the limitation on who can take the dual credit courses and how many.

It's thanks to House Bill 505, which allows 9th thru 12th grade students to take more dual credit courses.

"It takes the limits off of grade level, 'You can't do this until a certain grade level,'" said Nancy Vanley, Director of Guidance and Counseling at ECISD.

Before the 2015-2016 school year, high school students in certain grades could only take a limited number of college courses but not anymore.

"They used to only be able to take two and now they can take up to 15 hours," said Vanley.

In an analysis of HB 505, the House Research Organization says, "The Legislature has established early college high schools to give students the opportunity to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate's HB 505 degree. However, of 3,263 high schools in the state, only 110 are early college high schools. Students in the majority of high schools should have similar opportunities to earn substantial college credit and HB 505 would be a step toward this goal."

Students interested in jumping ahead still have to meet the Texas Success Initiative - or TSI - requirements. That's the assessment they take for college but they also have to meet prerequisites.

Counselors warn, these classes are no joke. 15 hours on top of extracurriculars and other school work, they say, could be overwhelming.

"These are college classes so they're rigorous. So we want to encourage people to remember that and when you sign your student up, please give them a chance to try it out," said Vanley.

ECISD, for example, has two new early college high schools. One at UTPB which is still recruiting students and one at OC TECHS.

The dual credit hours are free.

"You can get quite a few hours without any cost to you and you graduate high school with a lot of dual," said Vanley.

To sign up, high schools might have a college counselor available for guidance. ECISD has one at each campus.

You can also go online to view the courses provided.

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