Iowa leads the nation in providing college-level coursework to high school students
The Iowa Department of Education today released a new report highlighting the participation of students in joint enrollment opportunities to earn college credit while in high school.
Joint enrollment grew to a record high in 2015, with more than 44,000 Iowa high school students jointly enrolled in community college credit courses. The report finds that Iowa’s community colleges enroll students of high school age at a rate far outpacing that of community colleges and four-year postsecondary institutions nationally.
“Giving high school students access to college credit is one step toward closing the skills gap in Iowa, which is a high priority for our state,” said Ryan Wise, director of the Iowa Department of Education. “More of Iowa’s in-demand jobs require postsecondary education and training beyond high school. Earning credit in high school not only saves students money in future college tuition expenses, it also opens doors to greater career opportunities.”
Improving access to joint enrollment opportunities helps students acclimate to the expectations of college-level work and is in line with the Future Ready Iowa Initiative launched by Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds last year.
Future Ready Iowa focuses on ways to better align education and workforce initiatives to close the skills gap and meet future employer needs. Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds have called for 70 percent of Iowans in the workforce to have education or training beyond high school by 2025 so that more Iowans have great career opportunities and employers have the skilled workforce they need to grow and innovate.
The Joint Enrollment Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Report, which is available at https://www.educateiowa.gov/adult-career-and-community-college/publications, provides trend data on joint enrollment in the state, including headcount enrollment, credit hours taken, student demographics, and enrollment by program and type and offering arrangement.
“Today’s knowledge-based, global economy demands increased skills, training and education, and we are proud that Iowa leads the nation in providing this access and opportunity to our high school students,” Wise said.