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Boquet: Students can earn free college credits

A change coming to South Central Louisiana Technical College in Reserve this summer is good news for students in the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District.

As of July 1, SCLTC will become part of River Parishes Community College. As part of the change, the school will be introducing general education courses that can be transferred to four-year public colleges in addition to the technical training it previously offered.

And while this is good news for the parish as a whole, it’s great news for the school district, because it presents a tremendous opportunity for our high school students.

The school district has long offered dual-enrollment courses, allowing students to earn college credits while still in high school. However, previously this had to be done by bringing a teacher trained in the course into the high school. Because of this, not all universities would accept all of the credits.

Now, with a community college right here in St. John the Baptist Parish, students will be able to take those college courses on an actual college campus, taught by a professor or Career and Technical Education trained instructor, and those credits should easily transfer to any public university in the state, as well as many in other states.

And best of all – it’s free for our high school students.

Any student or parent who’s begun pricing a college education knows how expensive it is. In some cases, students can start college as a sophomore or junior by taking dual enrollment courses in high school, saving two years of tuition costs.

It’s the school district’s goal to hand an associate’s degree to at least half of graduating seniors at the same time they’re handed their high school diplomas.

Students take these courses during the regular school day, with transportation provided by the school district.

These college courses are open to any student who meets the prerequisite for the course, which may include a lower-level class or a certain ACT score and include courses such as college success, English 101, college algebra, chemistry and drafting. Students interested in a technical degree can also still pursue those courses.

Some of our students have already signed up to take courses over the summer and are able to take any of the numerous classes offered by the community college as long as they meet the prerequisite.

This is an opportunity for students to get a jumpstart on their future that’s just too good to miss.

Parents and students who want to take advantage of it should talk to the counselor at their high school.

Jennifer Boquet is the communications specialist for St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools. Email her at jboquet@stjohn.k12.la.us.