Ranger College among institutions selected to participate in ‘Next Generation’ program


By Tommy Wells

Ranger College Public Information Officer/Sports Information Director

RANGER (May 18, 2016) – Obtaining a college degree just became a whole lot easier for high school students – and their parents – thanks to a new federal program aimed at helping students enroll in college-level classes while they are still enrolled in high school. The new program, which debuted on March 14, will enable high school students enrolled in specific institutions of high education to be eligible for financial aid.

Fortunately for Texas students, Ranger College was one of 44 institutions – and the only one in Texas – selected to participate in the new federal Next Generation High Schools program aimed at promoting college opportunities to high school students via dual credit enrollment.

“We are very excited about being selected to participate in the new dual credit experiment,” said Ranger College President William J. Campion. “There are some very exciting things happening right now and we are thrilled that Ranger College is helping blaze a trail for all students.”

As part of the new dual credit experiment, Ranger College joins 43 other postsecondary institutions across 23 states to be a part of an $80 million competitive program recently passes by the Congress to help districts create innovative high school models to personalize teaching, promote active learning for students, and to provide deep ties to post-secondary education.  In so doing, the federal government is looking to high schools and districts to build rigorous and rel­evant educational programs for students The dual enrollment experiment, according to U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell., the program represents the next step in the work to rethink how high schools educate our students and prepare them for college and career through stronger partnerships between higher education and the K-12 space.

“Innovation is an important underpinning in our efforts to expand college access and increase college completion for our nation’s students,” said Mitchell. “We’re thrilled these institutions have joined us in answering the call to reimagine the high school experience and create stronger linkages to college coursework.”

As part of the Next Generation High Schools, Ranger College Dean of Administration Cherie Beltran noted students currently enrolled in high school could be eligible for federal Pell grants that could lessen the financial impact associated with taking college level classes.

“This is a great thing for students,” she said. “We realize taking college classes can be expensive and a financial hardship for some students so we are thrilled to be a part of this.”

As part of the program, an estimated 10,000 high school students will have the opportunity to access approximately $20 million in federal Pell grants to take dual enrollment courses provided by colleges and high schools throughout the nation. Nearly 80 percent of the selected sites are community colleges.

According to Mitchell, recent studies show dual enrollment – the process in which students enroll in postsecondary coursework while also enrolled in high school – is a promising approach to improve academic outcomes for students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds. Research suggests that participation in dual enrollment can lead to better grades in high school, increased enrollment in college following high school, higher rates of persistence in college, greater credit accumulation, and increased rates of credential attainment.

Mitchell noted that the program was designed so that selected sites are required to ensure Pell-eligible students are not responsible for any charges for postsecondary coursework after applying Pell Grants, public and institutional aid, and other sources of funding.

For for information about dual credit enrollment at Ranger College please contact Beltran at 254-647-3234 or via email at cbeltran@rangercollege.edu.

Ranger College is one of the fastest growing colleges in the nation and currently comprised of the main campus in Ranger and additional centers in Stephenville, Comanche, Brownwood and Olney.

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