By Ryan Ronan
Ranger College Public Information Officer
Ranger (July 17, 2017) – While Ranger College has been offering dual credit classes to high school students for 17 years, the program has seen a jump in enrollment over the past 12 months. The increase in students taking college classes while still attending high school is due in large part to Ranger College being the only higher education institution in Texas to who can offer Federal Pell Grants to high school students.
The Pell Grant program is available to all students who qualify no matter if they take one class or a full load.
There were 1,034 students enrolled in dual credit classes during the 2016-17 school year. Not surprisingly, the school with the largest enrollment, Stephenville High School, had the most students taking classes, 223. That number accounted for 23 percent of students at SHS.
While Comanche doesn’t have the sheer numbers that a school like Stephenville, nearly 29 percent of the student body at CHS took classes from Ranger.
In Brown County, Early High School led the way with 58 students enrolled. That accounted for nearly 22 percent of the Longhorns on campus.
Overall, Erath County, led by SHS, had the most students enrolled at RC with 308. Brown County followed with 205 and Comanche checked in with 155.
So, what’s the benefit to taking dual credit classes?
To start out with, cost. The per credit cost for an in-district student is just $25 an hour. Out of district students pay $80 per hour.
The savings continue, like the 35 students who graduated from Ranger College in May before they even walked the stage at their own high schools, dual credit students can enter college as a freshman who has already completed all of their general education courses. Meaning, once you get to that four-year school, you will only be paying for two years.
Finally, one of the biggest advantages is the support students receive to help them earn college credit while still learning in a high school environment.
“This is a great way to get ahead for college,” said Comanche High School senior Caden Jones. “You have teachers who can help you more hands on than if you were taking classes at a college or university.”
So, maybe college isn’t for you. Well, Ranger offers dual credit classes in programs like welding, machining and cosmetology so that when you graduate from high school you can be prepared to start a promising career.
For the 2017-18 school year, Ranger will be adding four new school districts to its service area and hopes to bring Brown, Comanche and Erath counties into the college district to help continue the growth of the dual credit program and all other programs offered by Ranger College.